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State of Grace

17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 16, 2007
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$13.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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State of Grace + Simple Truths + Speaking in Tongues
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Since signing with Alligator, The Holmes Brothers have enjoyed a quantum leap in radio and television exposure, showers of critical acclaim and mushrooming sales for 2001's Speaking In Tongues and 2004's Simple Truths. STATE OF GRACE is an astounding new studio release poised to bring their down-home mix of blues, soul, country and gospel to an even bigger audience. Over the past several years, The Holmes Brothers have appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, CBS' Early Saturday Show, USA Network (Willie Nelson's Outlaws & Angels concert), Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, A Prairie Home Companion, World Caf , Mountain Stage, E-Town, The House of Blues Radio Hour, Acoustic Caf , Woodsongs and Voice Of America. They've also scored rave print reviews from USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Associated Press and Knight-Ridder newswires, the New York Times, Downbeat, JazzTimes and many more. AAA and Americana Radio have also been good to The Holmes Brothers, with stations from both formats charting their releases. In addition, they've received strong support from blues, gospel and other specialty shows. Produced by Simple Truths helmsman Craig Street, STATE OF GRACE is the best record yet of The Holmes Brothers' astonishingly fresh blend of American roots sounds. Fans of their revelatory interpretations of classic songs will thrill to not only "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?," but also a hushed and heavenly "I Want You To Want Me" and their heated Cajun workout on "Bad Moon Rising." The record also features songs by Lyle Lovett, Hank Williams and George Jones, along with several soulful Holmes Brothers originals. Accompanying the band are an all-star cast of singers and instrumentalists, including Rosanne Cash, Joan Osborne, Levon Helm, Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan), John Leventhal and Catherine Russell.

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Elvis Costello made Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding?" a hard-put question--the Holmes Brothers transform it into a prayer on their spare, passionate tenth album. The disc earns its title by gently framing a clutch of originals and well-chosen covers within their signature blend of old-time gospel singing and roadhouse blues. And zydeco: they transport CCR's "Bad Moon Rising" from the mythic swamps of California songwriter John Fogerty to the authentic bayous of southern Louisiana with an accordion-led arrangement and two-step rhythm. Although these New York City-based juke joint veterans are an electric band, this time out producer Craig Street has surrounded the velvet and grit of their three-part harmonies with acoustic instruments and relaxed tempos. The uncluttered setting magnifies every nuance of their singing, making many of these performances absolutely angelic. And the simpler the better. Their slow, wistful piano-accompanied version of Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" aches with desire and sadness. Wendell Holmes and Rosanne Cash bare the wounded soul of Hank Williams's "I Can't Help It If I'm Still in Love with You" as they trade verses over acoustic guitars and mandolins. Joan Osborne and Levon Helm contribute guest vocal on other songs, but it's the Brothers' organic union of the spiritual and the corporeal that makes this album so lovely and so thrilling. --Ted Drozdowski

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 16, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alligator Records
  • ASIN: B000KLNLDC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,583 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alan Dorfman VINE VOICE on February 13, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Drawing from a variety of musical styles including Southern-fried blues, Stax soul, zydeco, gospel and country the Holmes Brothers provide a substantial, rib-sticking musical delight. With help from friends like Roseann Cash (duetting on Hank Williams' "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You) with it's heartbreaking mandolin), with Levon Helms of The Band on "I've Just Seen The Rock Of Ages" and with Joan Osborne on the soulful "Those Memories", the Holmes Brothers do it right whether a straight-forward rendering of Lyle Lovett's "If I Had A Boat" or converting the swamp funk of Creedence's "Bad Moon Rising" into a Cajun burner or completely making over Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love And Understanding" turning it from a raver (Elvis Costello's version) into a stately prayer, a mood which also ends the CD with the moving "God Will."

Taste this and you'll be back soon for seconds and thirds.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Open Ears on January 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD
On this latest disc the Holmes Brothers grow both increasingly daring and assured as interpreters. Their own tunes too hold up real well against their heartfelt, original reimagining of other's great songs on this effort. Each of them into their 60's now, the soul just keeps getting deeper and the harmonies sweeter. It's hard for me to overstate what a sublime turn their " I Want You to Want Me" represents. I can't imagine Rick Nielsen knew his song had this kind of moving spiritual dimension to it. Similarly the Holmes' take on Nick Lowe's "What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding" is both a timely commentary and a compelling mirror image to Elvis Costello's angry young man approach to the lyric years ago. In their hands, its a wistful plea from men who've seen our better natures denied again and again. As opposed to many discs where guest stars contributions feel tacked on or uninspired--here each one is a bit of a triumph. Joan Osbourne's compelling and spirited contribution on the rollicking Those Memories of You is just plain old funky. Levon Helm's transporting of Rock of Ages to some haunting raw Appalachin place is incredibly moving and Rosanne Cash's immaculate, disciplined and perfectly complimentary duet with Wendell Holmes on I Can't Help It If I'm Still in Love With You lets you hear that familiar song anew. For my money, among their own tunes, the sly and slinky Gasoline Drawers elicits a smile each time I've listened to it. A CD full of highlights from a band that's delivered a career full of them as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Parks on February 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I am a judge for the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge each year. I often wonder if a solo/duo/band will come along that will thrill me. It's only happened to me once...if young artist want to get into blues and be successful they should listen to this cd over and over and over.

The Holmes Brothers lend their harmony packed vocals and musicianship on each and every cut of this wonderful cd. The reviews of "I Want You to Want Me" above are so true. I personal favorite-favorites (because they are all my favorites i have to kick it up a notch :-) .....as I was saying, my personal favorite-favorites are "Three Gray Walls" with it's wonderful lilting melodies, "Gasoline Drawers" is funny and poignant simultaneously and the rollicking "Those Memories of You" with Joan Osborne blowing as only she can. She is one of the few female artist who doesn't change her style when singing soul, blues and or jazz. she interprets the songs with her own voice as opposed to changing her voice to be more "soulful" or "bluesy"...back to the song :-) Those Memories of You range from gospel to honky tonk and country and it all works within the span of it's 3 minute duration....the cd is phenomenal!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Music fan on October 30, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The Holmes Brothers have long mined blues classics to reintepret, but on their latest they are more adventurous, reaching out to cover Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?", John Fogerty's "Bad Moon Rising," and Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me." With the Lowe and Cheap Trick tunes, they turn angry, forceful tunes by young men into stately pleas by wiser heads. It's stunning how emotionally changed the songs are with their slow-burning interpretations. Meanwhile, Fogerty's warning is transformed into a raucous two-step.

The originals by Wendell, particularly "Smiling Face Hiding A Weeping Heart" stand up well alongside the classics. Appearances by friends like Rosanne Cash, Joan Osbourne, and Levon Helm are genuine contributions, not just star turns. It's a joy to listen to these three guys having this much fun.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Winston O'Boogie on May 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
A very pleasing collection of bluesy folk, soul, americana and country tunes, both upbeat and ballad styles. Fine harmonies and "from the heart" solos by veteran voices which compliment the musical selections. The more you listen the more you are pulled into these tunes. It sounds like the fellas had fun singing and playing. The smiling faces on the CD sleeve belie this feeling. After listening one is certainly happy all over.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mad cook on March 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The more you listen to this CD the more you'll hear. It's great music with fabulous attitude. The lyrics are starting to bubble over into the way I talk. One of my favorite songs has the line: "I can't stand your conversation." I tried this out on my husband the other day. Fortunately we both laughed.
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