State of Grace

  • 2007
  • State of Grace
  • The Holmes Brothers
  • Alligator Records


The Holmes Brothers are Wendell Holmes guitar, Sherman Holmes bass, and Popsy Dixon drums. They closed out a blues festival at Live Oak Camp a few years back with a rousing, gospel-tinged set. I bought the CD they had with them, “Where It’s At,” which, though tasty and well played, seemed to lack the excitement of the live show, having mainly a mid-tempo, soulful groove.

Several projects later, their newest CD, “State of Grace,” offers more variety, with a mix of instrumental arrangements, players, singers, tempos, and sources – many of the latter Country & Western. They almost sound Cajun on John Fogerty’s “Bad Moon Rising.” Guest singers on single tracks include Roseanne Cash on Hank Williams’s “I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You,” Joan Osborne on a rollicking tune called “Those Memories of You,” and Levon Helm (once drummer of The Band) on vocals, snare drum, and mandolin. Writing credits include the Holmes themselves, Lyle Lovett, and the unlikely sounding combination of George Jones & Johnny Mathis. Glenn Patscha is on most cuts, on piano, organ, accordion and vocals, making an important contribution. The sound quality is good and the mix of musicians and material goes together well.

This is an entertaining album, and, if not as intense as that live gig, provides an interesting collection that maintains a bluesy flavor.