The Sherman Holmes Project review…June 30, 2017….

THE SHERMAN HOLMES PROJECT

THE RICHMOND SESSIONS

FEATURING ROB ICKES, SAMMY SHELOR, AND THE LEGENDARY INGRAMETTES

M C RECORDS  MC 0082

ROCK OF AGES–LIZA JANE–DON’T DO IT–I WANT JESUS–BREAKING UP SOMEBODY’S HOME–DARK END OF THE STREET (WITH SPECIAL GUEST JOAN OSBORNE)–LONESOME PINES–GREEN RIVER–WIDE RIVER–WHITE DOVE–HOMELESS CHILD

The Holmes Brothers–Wendell and Sherman, along with drummer Popsy Dixon–all Virginians–were one of the most versatile groups ever to record, beginning with “In The Spirit,” from 1980.  They had a predominantly-gospel background, but infused it with a bit of everything, from blues to bluegrass, to Americana, and folk music, making records of just plain great music that always defied categorization.  In 2015 guitarist Wendell Holmes and Popsy Dixon both passed, and Sherman, originally the bassist and keyboard player for the band, pondered ever recording again.  However, thanks to the efforts of producer Jon Lohman, himself a Virginia State Folklorist, Sherman will release “The Richmond Sessions” for M. C. Records on July 21.

There are several special guests that make this album a real treat, too.  They include Rob Ickes on dobro, Jared Pool on mandolin and Fender Telecaster, Jon Lohman on harp, Joan Osborne on vocal on one cut, and The Ingramettes on backing vocals throughout.  This set is varied and eclectic in nature, with the sacred cuts standing right alongside the secular ones.

Our favorites numbered several from both camps.  On the sacred side, the leadoff “Rock Of Ages,” and a song that Sherman learned as a child, “I Want Jesus to walk with me” each feature The Ingramettes–“Richmond’s First Family of Gospel,” led by the incomparable voice of Almeta Ingram-Miller.  On the secular side, Rob’s dobro plays that always-familiar lick that drives John Fogerty’s tune about that place “where cool water flows,” “come on home to Green River.”  And Joan Osborne and Sherman give an absolutely spellbinding performance of the two shamed lovers doomed forever to meet “At The Dark End Of The Street.”

Those who have always been fans of the Holmes Brothers will love The Sherman Holmes Project and “The Richmond Sessions,”  an all-Virginia affair.  If you’ve never listened to them before, let this set, which, frankly, has Grammy written all over it, be an excellent introduction!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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