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The Holmes Brothers

Feed My Soul

(Alligator Records; US: 2 Mar 2010; UK: 1 Mar 2010)

Feed My Soul, the Holmes Brothers’ follow-up to 2007’s well received State of Grace, includes some familiar personnel (most prominently, Joan Osborne, who acts as producer, and Ollabelle’s Glenn Patscha). However, unlike that earlier record, this one features more original songs, many of which touch on Wendell Holmes’ recent bout with cancer. Unsurprisingly, the Holmes Brothers still wade in the cross-currents that bring together blues, R&B, country, and gospel music, with a generous dose of swelling organ and densely textured harmonies. Cynics might balk at the Brothers’ unfailing optimism, and there’s a sonic tidiness to the record that occasionally makes for a slightly unnatural stiffness, but on the whole Feed My Soul sounds exactly like what it is: dispatches from a true group of soul survivors. If it doesn’t break much new ground, it still offers plenty of evidence as to why the Holmes Brothers endure.

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