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14 octobre 2007

The Holmes Brothers : Roots rock, blues and dash of gospel

For more than 25 years, guitarist Wendell Holmes, bassist Sherman Holmes and drummer Popsy Dixon -- Virginia natives known as The Holmes Brothers -- have been knocking out a part-blues, part-gospel, part-rock harmony-driven brand of American roots music.

The Holmes Brothers have shared the stage and studio with Joan Osborne, Willie Nelson, Odetta, Roseanne Cash and Levon Helm. But Peter Gabriel gets the nod as the one guy who gave the group its biggest boost.

"Peter Gabriel did a lot for us," Wendell Holmes said by phone from his Maryland home. "He gave us the opportunity to record with him and Van Morrison."

The 10th entry on The Holmes Brothers' discography is this year's "Saving Grace," an eclectic mix of originals and covers. Perhaps the coolest song is Wendell's own "Gasoline Drawers."

"Everybody likes that song," he said. "If you didn't know, you'd think it was a sleazy porn song. But it's a love song. It talks about loving someone so much that you'd run through hell with gasoline drawers on. Now that's real love."

Much of The Holmes Brothers' music has a good beat and is easy to dance to. But Wendell wants everyone to know what's at the heart of the music.

"A typical set list is a mix of blues, some country and always some gospel. . . . Gospel is always important, so look out guys -- you're going to get some gospel with the blues."

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