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Sherman Holmes On World Cafe

Sherman Holmes
Courtesty of the artist
Sherman Holmes

My guest today has just released his debut solo album, and he's in his 70s! His name? Sherman Holmes.

Now, of course, he's not a new kid on the block. He's had a decades-long career in The Holmes Brothers with his real brother Wendell Holmes, and Willie "Popsy" Dixon, who was like a brother.

Over the course of a dozen albums, the Holmes Brothers fused soulful three-part harmonies, rhythm and blues, and traditional gospel music. In 2014, they were awarded the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship. That same year, all three Holmes Brothers signed up as mentors in the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program. It pairs seasoned artists with young aspiring creatives so they pass on traditional art forms, the old-school way: one-on-one.

Sadly, Wendell Holmes and "Popsy" Dixon didn't live to complete the program. Both passed away in 2015. Of course, this was devastating for Sherman Holmes. But the Virginia Folklife Program's director, Jon Lohman, encouraged Sherman to keep working with his young student through her performances, and even get onstage himself to perform a heartfelt tribute to his brothers.

That performance sparked the idea for the Sherman Holmes Project – it features Sherman backed by his dream country band, which Jon Lohman helped assemble. The result is a collection of songs on Sherman's debut solo album called The Richmond Sessions.

Sherman and his band join us in this session from In Your Ear Studios in Richmond, Virginia. The segment was engineered by Carlos Chafin and Andrea Stefl.

Copyright 2017 XPN

Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.