The Holmes Brothers State of Grace

The Holmes Brothers have been at it for decades in one incarnation or another, preaching gospel truth and breathing soul into the music of our times. Whether through their own inspired tunes or those by Hank Williams, Van Morrison, Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt that have inspired them, the Holmes Brothers’ transformation formula is well received. The pearly gates of popular taste swing open to a State of Grace, as brothers Sherman and Wendell Holmes and brother in spirit Popsy Dixon transcend the lofty likes of John Fogerty, George Jones, Nick Lowe and Lyle Lovett. Their particularly stirring rendition of Cheap Trick’s "I Want You to Want Me” is proof that God works in mysterious ways. Rosanne Cash joins the trio on the often covered but rarely captured "I Can’t Help it if I’m Still in Love With You.” True to form, the Brothers treat Hank Sr.’s lovesick lament as if it were their own. It’s a testament to their method, the way they recreate and elevate the inherent greatness of a song, rather than to trying to copy or mess with it. As Sherman Holmes once said, "Jesus turned water into wine, not wine into water.” There you go: the Holmes Brothers do God’s work.

(Alligator, www.alligator.com) (Alligator)