In addition to country music, Simple Truths includes versions of songs by Bob Marley, Willie Dixon (if you thought there wasn't anything more to find in "Big Boss Man," think again), Collective Soul ("Shine," given a peppy shuffle beat), and others, along with several originals, including a flawless Philadelphia-style makeup number called "We Meet, We Part, We Remember." Each piece has its own carefully detailed sound and a characteristic interaction between the other musicians and Dixon, who's the kind of supple, graceful percussionist you just don't hear anymore in the machine age.
For the Holmes Brothers, blues and soul are more than styles, more even than essential qualities. They're classic modes of expression, endlessly flowing fountains that enable musicians to try to carve out perfect works of art. The Holmes Brothers are classicizing revivalists of the first order.
[Originally published in March, 2004.]