Holy Rolling

The Holmes Brothers aren't sweating the secular/sacred conundrum, just following Jesus' example

That assessment is modest. Since the release of Speaking in Tongues, the Holmes Brothers have seen their stock rise considerably. In recent months they've played huge festivals around the globe, from the United States and Canada to Great Britain and Italy and as far afield as Singapore. The group already has tentative plans to tour China next year, after a slew of gigs in Europe this fall.

First, though, there's the matter of the new album. "We're hoping to do some recording in October before we head to Europe," Sherman says. "We're doing a lot of writing right now and putting some things together. But we better get busy, because I think brother Bruce [Iglauer, Alligator Records' owner] is getting nervous," he concludes with a laugh.

The group expects the new album to be more blues-based than its immediate predecessor, but the trio's musical tastes aren't limited to black music forms. "We listen to John Prine a lot, and Iris DeMent," Sherman says. "Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss are great, too. I like American music in general and roots music particularly. But I listen to a lot of jazz and classical, too. And I love Irish music."

Neither an Irish jig nor a bluegrass breakdown is likely to figure into the next Holmes Brothers album, but Sherman believes that the group's varied influences work their way into the sound, at least on some level. "Those things are all present in our music," he says. "How could they not be? I think a person's experiences can't help but show up in what they do, whether it's obvious to the average listener or not."

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