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Sherman Holmes

Saluda, Virginia

Danny Paisley & The Southern GrassThe year 2015 marked the end of an amazing journey for the Holmes Brothers, a group with humble beginnings on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula who performed a joyous and moving blend of blues, gospel, soul, rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and country for more than 50 years. Sherman and Wendell Holmes were raised by schoolteacher parents who fostered the boys’ early interest in music by playing recordings of traditional Baptist hymns, anthems, and spirituals, as well as blues music by Jimmy Reed, Junior Parker, and B. B. King. Sherman studied composition and music theory at Virginia State University before heading to New York City, where Wendell joined him. In 1979, the duo formed the Holmes Brothers band with Sherman on bass, Wendell on guitar, and Popsy Dixon on drums. With their soulful singing, uplifting harmonies, and unsurpassed musicianship, the Holmes Brothers blended Saturday night roadhouse rock with the gospel fervor and harmonies of a Sunday morning church service. During their remarkable career, the band played and recorded with the brightest stars of the blues and rock ‘n’ roll scene including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Morrison, and in 2014 received the National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor the United States bestows on traditional artists. Sadly, 2015 saw the passing of both Wendell and Popsy, ending the Holmes Brothers’ remarkable run. Despite these devastating losses, Sherman has remained dedicated to carrying on his musical career, collaborating with a range of blues artists, and forming the Sherman Holmes Project with Wendell’s former apprentice Brooks Long and harmonica legend Phil Wiggins. “You gotta’ keep moving,” Sherman says with a big smile, “you gotta’ keep going.”