ACL Fest Interviews
The Holmes BrothersSaturday 4:30pm, Capital Metro stage
Since forming in 1979, the Holmes Brothers have been amazing audiences worldwide with their brand of blues, which incorporates gospel, funk, and rock in unexpected ways. With stirring brotherly harmonies that resound with passion and are matched only by their spirited musicianship, bassist/vocalist Sherman Holmes; his brother, guitarist/vocalist Wendell Homes; and drummer/vocalist Popsy Dixon don't just perform. They transport an audience to a place few bands go, where rump shaking and praising the Lord aren't mutually exclusive.
Earlier this year the Holmes Brothers released one of the best albums of the year in Simple Truths (Alligator). A remarkable collection of songs, it features a few flavorful originals sprinkled in with tunes by truly great songwriters, including Townes Van Zandt, Bob Marley, Gillian Welch, Willie Nelson, and Hank Williams, plus choice covers of Collective Soul's "Shine" and Bruce Channel's "Hey! Baby."
Speaking to Sherman Holmes from his home in New York, he explains the band's always been eclectic in the music it chooses to play.
"My brother and I started off taking piano lessons, playing classical music and all kinds of stuff. When we were kids we needed to fill in time at gigs, so we'd play whatever we could. That's evolved into taking different genres and putting them together."
A love of country music has led them to some interesting material.
"I just love Charlie Rich," the 65-year-old exclaims. "And Dolly Parton. She's one of my favorites. We copied Dolly Parton's arrangement of the song "Shine.' I've never heard Collective Soul do it," he adds with a laugh.
Holmes claims to be lazy, but there's talk of working on a new record. Even as they get older there's no thought of slowing down.
"I have a hard time being with people my own age sometimes," he chuckles. "Music tends to keep you young. How hard is a job where they clap for you when you get there and clap when you leave?"