Holmes Brothers | SPACE | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Sun., Aug. 17, 7:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $17-$30
Brothers Sherman and Wendell Holmes (and drummer-vocalist Willie “Popsy” Dixon) got their start in gospel, which remains a dominant force in their music, but they’ve never been shy about mixing the secular with the sacred. On the Holmes Brothers’ latest CD, this year’s Brotherhood (Alligator), their churchy harmonies are as finely honed as ever, though age has coarsened their mellifluous voices a bit and broadened their vibrato. The songs, on the other hand, are uncompromisingly bluesy—only a few deliver a message of redemption or salvation. On “Passing Through” and “Lickety Split,” Wendell Holmes’s neckbone-and-gristle rasp makes a perfect match for the hard-eyed lyrics; Dixon adds spiritual foreboding to the Ike Turner/Jackie Brenston vehicle “You Got to Lose,” turning a song about rocking in the face of ruin into an irony-darkened meditation on fate and retribution. The most memorable moments come when all three members sing together—whether they’re telling stories of temptation and dissolution or delivering inspirational testimonials, their eloquent blended voices invoke praise, uplift, and redemption by virtue of their beauty alone. —David Whiteis
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