The Holmes Brothers 

A message to cover bands and singers: You don't have to be hacks. Instead of regurgitating someone else's art, be like the Holmes Brothers. Their sweet, gospel-tinged roots and R&B, their three-part harmonies and their rustic air utterly transform their subjects. Drummer Popsy Dixon's falsetto balances brothers Wendell and Sherman Holmes as the trio — sometimes accompanied by other musicians — performs makeovers even more impressive than turning Eddie Murphy into an incredibly fat woman. Their eighth full-length, State of Grace, slows Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me" to a trickle, creating a plaintive, soul-driven piano ballad, and cleverly reworks other classics — "What's So Funny (About Peace, Love and Understanding)," "Bad Moon Rising," a couple of Lyle Lovett tunes — to accompany several equally delicious originals.

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