The year 2015 has brought loss and change to the acclaimed soul/blues/gospel band The Holmes Brothers. Drummer Willie “Popsy” Dixon died on January 9, 2015 of cancer. In April 2015, Wendell Holmes, vocalist, guitarist, pianist and songwriter, announced his retirement from touring and performing due to health concerns, having been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension.


Older brother Sherman Holmes, vocalist, bassist, pianist, and songwriter, will continue to celebrate The Holmes Brothers legacy, leading a new band: The Sherman Holmes Project With Brooks Long.

The newest chapter in The Holmes Brothers story will feature a new trio, anchored and led by elder statesman Sherman Holmes on bass and vocals, joined by Wendell Holmes’ protégé and apprentice Brooks Long on guitar and vocals, plus renowned drummer/vocalist Eric Kennedy, winner of a 2015 Baker Artist Award. The Sherman Holmes Project will honor The Holmes Brothers repertoire with a blend of renewed energy, wisdom and youthful respect for timeless traditions.

Sherman Holmes is renowned for his deeply soulful baritone voice and his unique, blues-to-jazz-to-funk bass style. The Chicago Tribune called The Holmes Brothers “a gift to the world of music.” As a member of The Holmes Brothers, Sherman has released twelve albums and toured the world, performing in all fifty states and more than fifty countries. In 2005, The Holmes Brothers won the Blues Music Award (BMA) for Band of the Year, followed by the BMA for Soul Blues Album of the Year in 2008 for State of Grace. Their most recent album is 2014’s Brotherhood on Alligator Records. Sherman has performed and recorded with such artists as Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Joan Osborne, Odetta, Willie Nelson, Levon Helm, and Rosanne Cash. The Holmes Brothers were honored with a National Endowment for The Arts National Heritage Fellowship in 2014, the highest honor the United States bestows upon its folk and traditional artists.

In late 2013, Wendell Holmes began working with a young and talented guitarist, singer, and songwriter — Baltimore blues and soul musician, Brooks Long. Wendell has been formally mentoring Brooks with the assistance of a Maryland Traditions Apprenticeship Award. The Award is a program of the Maryland State Arts Council’s Folklife program, and is designed to honor master traditional artists, while enabling them to pass their skills on to the next generation. The result has been transformative, enabling Brooks to move into a creative, collaborative space with one of R&B’s wisest and most talented singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists.

Watch The Sherman Holmes Project With Brooks Long in live performance:

A Tribute to Popsy Dixon

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