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The Holmes Brothers: Tiny Desk Concert

When The Holmes Brothers arrived to play a Tiny Desk Concert at the NPR Music offices, the group showed up early — really early, and ready to work. With Sherman Holmes on bass and Wendell Holmes on guitar, these folks are pros. They've been working at it for more than 30 years, playing soul music steeped in Baptist hymns, blues and spirituals. And they play it really well, without the frills.

They're such pros that, while there wasn't much room for Popsy Dixon's full drum kit behind the Tiny Desk, Dixon wasn't worried; he's been keeping a steady backbeat for The Holmes Brothers since the '70s. He also has a wonderful falsetto. Together, all three sing beautiful harmonies.

The Holmes Brothers' members are from Christchurch, Va., but these days, New York City serves as home base. They've recorded with Peter Gabriel, Willie Nelson, Van Morrison and Odetta, to name a few. But here, the group played through three songs from its own recent Feed My Soul, including an inspired take on "Pledging My Love."

When they were done, they calmly packed up their instruments and hopped back in their car. They'd knocked out another set like the cool pros they are, and we were left to let their joyful songs play in our heads for the rest of the day.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.