Mary Ellen Mark
The Holmes Brothers. Mary Ellen Mark
For more than three decades, roadhouse rock has met up with gospel in the music of The Holmes Brothers.
Over the years, the Holmes Brothers have made music with everyone from Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen, to Patti Smith, Merle Haggard and Ben Harper. One of their favorite musical collaborators is Joan Osborne, who produced the band's upcoming album. It's called Feed My Soul.
The Holmes Brothers are Sherman Holmes on bass, Wendell Holmes on guitar and Popsy Dixon on drums. (As they like to say, "Popsy is a brother from a different father and mother.")
While on tour in Washington, D.C., the band visited NPR to speak with guest host Gwen Thompkins. It was a tour made possible by the fact that Wendell Holmes went up against bladder cancer — and won.
"I did, Gwendolyn," he said. "And I came out victorious. You know, the devil tried to kill me, but it was not my time to go. So I just thank God for the blessing of still being here. And hey, everything worked out fine. So far, so good."
Sherman Holmes said the illness was reflected in the group's songwriting. "I appreciate having my brother with me, since I almost went with him there," he said, laughing.
All members of The Holmes Brothers discussed Feed My Soul, and sang a special stripped-down version of "Pledging My Love."