The Holmes Brothers
@ the Cedar Cultural Center, April 11, 1997

When the Holmes Brothers come to town get ready to pitch the tent because you are in store for a revival meeting - only there is no preaching, its all music! Let me qualify that, its "great" music. Its hard to pin down their style because they draw from such a wide musical base. At a typical Holmes Brothers show (or one of their half dozen CD's for that matter) you will find just the right mix of soul, blues, gospel, R & B and country. No matter what the song or style what you can count on is a vocal harmony that is pleasingly unique. From Wendell's growling lead vocals to Sherman's down in the basement baritone to Popsy's soaring falsetto we are taken on an inspired musical adventure that has no rival today. Besides their one-of-a-kind vocals these guys are excellent musicians too. Wendell's guitar playing is electrifying and Popsy's drums and Sherman's bass are rock solid.

The Holmes Brothers are Wendell Holmes on guitar, Sherman Holmes on bass and Popsy Dixon on drums. Wendell and Sherman also added several piano numbers during the show. They started playing together as a group in 1980 in New York and only in the past 6 years have they gained the well deserved world wide recognition and acclaim.

The wide variety of music they performed at the Cedar was something to behold. There was a rocking gospel rendition of Since I Laid My Burden Down, a funky and fast Jimmy Reed's Big Boss Man, a slow soulful Good For Me with that high vocal solo by Popsy. You keep expecting to hear his voice break but it never does. He takes you right to the edge and then Sherman's and Wendell's harmony joins in to bring you floating back down to earth.

There was some rock and roll with Whole Lotta of Shaking Going On, Bo Diddley and Fat's Domino's Hello Josephine. Some deep slow blues with another Jimmy Reed number Baby What You Want Me To Do. A jazzy, fast tempo Stormy Monday. Inspiring gospel with Amazing Grace that was just an amazing rendition, plus Walk In The Light and None But The Righteous. A rocking version of Wild Wood Flower that might have brought tears to Sara Carter's eyes. Great R & B with Sam Cooke's That's Where It's At. The second set started off with Sherman on piano and Popsy doing a memorable version of Train A Coming.

At the end of the show Wendell said "we had a good time, we don't know about you?" Well, they can rest assured this audience had a very good time as evidenced by the standing ovation and the dancing going on during the show at both sides of the audience.

I would recommend starting with their 1993 Soul Street and 1991 Where It's At albums, then their initial release In The Spirit and their gospel album Jubilation. Their new release is called Promised Land. You have to experience their performance the next time they are in town.

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Copyright © 1997 by Ray M. Stiles
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