Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Holmes Brothers - State of Grace (Alligator, 2006)

The Holmes Brothers are one of the finest roots bands making music today, they can take nearly any song from however unlikely a source and spin it into gold. Combining old school r&b, soul, gospel and blues, create a sound that is all their own. This album is very well produced by Craig Street who has also worked with Cassandra Wilson amongst others and achieves an unobtrusive and warm sound. The breadth of the music they cover is extraordinary. Slowing down Nick Lowe's "What's So Funny ('bout Peace, Love and Understanding)" to a soulful lament for peace is an inspired move, as the most famous version of this song is Elvis Costello's breakneck version from Armed Forces. But who would have thought that Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" could be turned into a crooning tear stained ballad? These fellows could probably sing from the telephone book and sound good. They aren't just a talented cover band and have some good original songs on this album like the funny "Gasoline Drawers." Throw in a little country in performing songs by George Jones and Hank Williams, and a rollicking cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" and all of the tempos are covered on a varied and highly recommended disc.

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