Music » Livewire

Holmes Brothers


Cut here
  • Cut here
You don't have to hail from Shanghai to dig egg rolls, and you sure don't need Mexican roots to pine for an ice-cold Corona. So it goes for a great gospel sound. It may have been some time since you last caught a Sunday sermon, but that won't stop the Holmes Brothers from stirring your soul and getting your booty moving in the bargain. Blues, R&B, and country all factor into the Virginia-bred, New York City-based trio's infectious mix, as does a stripped-down rock-and-rhythm instrumental sound that cuts through the age barrier. The sweet syrup that binds it all, however, is down-home gospel.

Bassist Sherman Holmes, his guitarist-keyboardist brother, Wendell, and drummer Popsy Dixon formed the group in 1979, melding their blues-to-Baptist backgrounds to a wide array of material. Along the way, their sound has earned them studio dates with such artists as Peter Gabriel and Joan Osborne. Throughout the Holmes' nine-disc catalog, they place their distinctive stamp on a wide range of material, from Hank Williams to Bob Marley, the Beatles to Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Their last two offerings display the breadth of their influences: 2001's Speaking in Tongues emphasized the inspirational, while 2003's Simple Truths rocked in a secular vein. Whatever way they do it, the Holmes Brothers will stir your spirit.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.