THE RIVERTOWNS JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL, with The Holmes Brothers, Kemp Harris, and The Hastings Blues Mothers: Live at MacEachron Park, Hastings-on-Hudson


"...juke-joint vets with brazenly borderless view of American music…with a purity of heart and rapturous harmonizing, these brothers are righteous indeed."
- Entertainment Weekly

"Richly soulful and as daring as ever, The Holmes Brothers remain a musical force unto themselves." - Billboard

"The music kicks, the singing is a classic mix of gravel and honey, and the material is outstanding. The Holmes Brothers are an undiscovered American treasure..."
- Associated Press

The 2nd Annual Rivertowns Jazz and Blues Festival—a 10-day, multi-venue multimedia musical celebration taking place between Friday June 5th and Sunday, June 14th in locations stretching along the Hudson River from Yonkers to Tarrytown—comes to the banks of the Hudson River Hastings-on-Hudson NY's MacEachron Park for a very special concert with the legendary blues and soul trio, The Holmes Brothers, as well as Kemp Harris and the Hastings Blues Mothers.

The spine-tingling harmonies, boundless energy and telepathic musicianship of The Holmes Brothers (bassist/vocalist Sherman Holmes, guitarist/pianist/ vocalist Wendell Holmes, drummer/vocalist Popsy Dixon) mix Saturday night’s roadhouse rock with the gospel fervor and harmonies of Sunday’s church service. As Wendell says about their blend of the secular and the sacred, “Jesus turned water into wine, not wine into water.” USA Today calls The Holmes Brothers’ vision of American roots music “masterful and convincing.” Entertainment Weekly says, “The Holmes Brothers are juke-joint vets with a brazenly borderless view of American music.” Their chilling harmonies resonate with a passion and conviction matched only by their inspired musicianship and their ability to perform sanctified gospel, low-down roadhouse blues, deep soul, Americana/country and pure pop—all in one set. They’ve recorded with Van Morrison, Peter Gabriel, Odetta, Phoebe Snow, Willie Nelson, Rosanne Cash, Levon Helm and Joan Osborne, and have gigged all over the world—even performing for President Clinton. They joined the Alligator Records family in 2001, and their label debut—the inspirationally stirring Speaking In Tongues (AL 4877)—amazed and delighted everyone who heard it. Greg Kot of The Chicago Tribune called it a “joyous, foot-stomping carnival…a gift to the world of music.” 2004’s Simple Truths earned even more acclaim. The Chicago Sun-Times called it, “A breathtaking and heartfelt journey through gospel-drenched soul, blues, funk and country.” They won the coveted Blues Music Award from the Memphis-based Blues Foundation for Band Of The Year in 2005.

Now The Holmes Brothers return with STATE OF GRACE, produced by Craig Street (Norah Jones, Chris Whitley, Cassandra Wilson) who also produced Simple Truths. Noted for their ability to transform songs by legendary writers from The Beatles to Tom Waits to Bob Marley, The Holmes Brothers push that tradition even farther on STATE OF GRACE. They expertly reinvent songs by writers as diverse as John Fogerty (Bad Moon Rising), Cheap Trick (I Want You To Want Me), Hank Williams, Sr. (I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You), Nick Lowe (What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love And Understanding?), George Jones (Ain’t It Funny What A Fool Will Do), and Lyle Lovett (God Will, If I Had A Boat), delivering versions that need to be heard to be believed.


"An artful tapestry of soul, jazz and African folk influences highlighted by Harris' Southern Gospel saturated vocals and head-turning arrangements a la Donny Hathaway or Marvin Gaye" — Sing Out

"Kemp Harris is a thief, a tease and a heartbreaker. Plus, he knows too much.  And its all right there when he sings.  Beautifully there.  Watch out.  He'll take your breath away." — National Public Radio

With almost four decades behind him as a songwriter and performer, Kemp Harris has collaborated with a surprising list of talent. He has shared the stage with Koko Taylor, Taj Mahal and Gil Scott-Heron, as well as composing original music for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. On Edenton, his most recent record, Harris’ wide range of experience comes through in a powerful and intensely personal album. The album features the legendary Holmes Brothers on backing vocals. The Brothers bring the full force of their talent, providing deep, rootsy harmonies to the raw-boned force of Harris’ lead. With the support of the Holmes Brothers, Harris’s original songwriting and performances reflect a mature artist not content to rehash the clichés of the blues and roots genre. Harris shows his willingness to fuse diverse elements in the search for a more modern and timely blues. Edenton brings an edgier, darker hue to this traditional American music.


The Hastings Blues Mothers were founded in the friendship of a few Hastings women who shared a love of music and performing. Now, not just “Mothers” and not just “Blues”: Hope Berkeley (harmonica & vocals), Joan Indig (bass & vocals), Irene Maher ( guitar & vocals), Jenny Murphy ( vocals & rhythm guitar), Bill Reeve (drums & vocals) and Pam Sklar (flute & vocals) have been enjoying a run at festivals, clubs and coffeehouses harmonizing on originals and covering artists from Jimi Hendrix to Yip Harburg with inspired arrangements.

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