Dan Holmes Group
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Dan Holmes Group

Band Rock Blues


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"Rock Star of the Week: Dan Holmes"

Rock Star of the Week: Dan Holmes
Plus, G.E. Smith, Paul Schafer and The Muppets
Some of you might already know who we are. We're Melodie and Harmonie, a couple of music-savvy girls giving you the lowdown on Indy's local talent. This is our third review, and we'd like to hear what you think. Send us some e-mail, and a CD while you're at it.
Dan Holmes
Soup Kitchen: 1998
This week's artist is one gifted guy. His sound takes a little getting used to, but Pure is well worth a couple listens. Maybe even a rotation on your stereo.
Cold beers in hand, we kick back and listen to some Pure Dan Holmes.
Song #1 "Me & Mine"
Melodie: The horns sound like -
Harmonie: Big band.
Melodie: Yeah, maybe Mardi Gras, New Orleans kind of big band.
Harmonie: (looking at CD insert) He's got this whole Pleasantville thing going on back here.
Melodie: Family pictures.
Harmonie: So, we're looking at what, the '50s here?
Melodie: Maybe it's the roots type thing. Country. A celebration feel.
Song #2 "Prayer"
Harmonie: God, he's got a mandolin, an accordion and bagpipes in this one.
Melodie: Damn. (pause) How have we never heard of him? He's really not bad.
Harmonie: I can see him having a following. (pause) He may have too many people on his CD to assemble an actual band. (looks at business card) This is a Celtic font.
Melodie: Yeah, it has that sound, with the bagpipes.
Harmonie: Maybe that's what he's going for. Irish É
Melodie: And folk.
Melodie: (laughing) And we're drinking Harp from Ireland.
Song #3 "This Later"
Harmonie: The third song seems to always be a love song. Or at least slowed down from what they start out with.
Melodie: Yeah, a change of pace. Here he sounds a little like Beautiful South. (pause) Wow, I like this song!
Harmonie: I do too! I would put this on a mix tape! (reading lyrics) It's really nice.
Melodie: It sounds like it could be on a soundtrack. With that flute.
Harmonie: He's not attempting to be the same. Or emulate anyone. This is really listenable. I think a lot of people would find it pleasing. And in a weird way, catching them off guard.
Melodie: I know.
Harmonie: It's like, "Where the hell did Dan Holmes come from?"
Melodie: It almost sounds Spanish. You could do the rumba to that beat.
Harmonie: (imitating whipping noise from song)
(M&H laughing)
Harmonie: (song ends) It was short, but it was nice!
Melodie: Yeah, it all mixed well together. A very good sound.
Song #4 "The Devil"
Harmonie: Is this bluesy, kind of?
Melodie: Definitely, yeah, Chris Isaak or Lyle Lovett.
Harmonie: Honky-tonk almost. He's got a harmonica. Guitar-based. (pause) In every song he's bringing in something new. Even his vocals have changed. He's got a good voice.
Melodie: You can hear every distinct instrument.
Harmonie: Yeah, the use of all those different instruments seems essential in every song. He's going for something.
Song #5 "Take That Train"
Melodie: This song sounds swing kind of. Squirrel Nut Zippers.
Harmonie: Does it?
Melodie: I can imagine people dancing to this. Kind of hunched over and going around in a circle. Kicking their legs out -
Harmonie: There can definitely be some elbow-dancing done to this. I don't know who I see as his audience. If I envision a Dan Holmes concert.
Melodie: It would be a mix.
Song #6 "Cornbread Head"
Harmonie: This sounds like an Adam Sandler song. It's called "Cornbread Head," and it's all about cornbread. (pause) Oh how funny. It's like his thirty second "Cornbread Head" comedy relief break.
Song #7 "Freak Murders"
Melodie: This is the disco number.
Harmonie: It's kind of got some funk in it, too. (does funky bass impression) Oh my God! This is hilarious. The lyrics are hilarious.
Melodie: The back-up vocals are funny. That one sounds like a little kid.
Harmonie: (incredulously) Dan Holmes did everything on this song except for the congas. [vocals, keys, guitar, bass, trumpet, percussion]
Melodie: (laughing) NO!
Harmonie: Dan's pretty damn talented.
Melodie: He's awesome.
Harmonie: Great song. It seems like this CD took a lot, and he's really proud of it.
Melodie: Yeah, I can imagine. (long pause) This guy knows what he's doing.
Harmonie: Yeah, it's produced well. The sound quality's great. It's solid. It's just so different from what a lot of people are doing.
Song #8 "Beginning of the End"
Melodie: That piano. It sounds Western.
Harmonie: Vaudeville. Or in a saloon. Like the piano's playing itself. (pause) It's kind of country.
Melodie: I could say his voice is almost rockabilly.
(Side Bar)
Harmonie: He's kind of got that Homonculus voice. He's like "La, la la la," but it's country.
Melodie: The bass player of Homonculus reminds me of that guy from the Saturday Night Live Band. G.E. Smith or whoever. I could never stand looking at him. They'd come back from a commercial, and he'd be cheesing for the camera (does imitation of exaggerated guitar moves).
Harmonie: Oh! OK, G.E. Smith and the Saturday Night Live Band. Yes, yes.
Melodie: I thought he was so annoying.
Harmonie: At one point I thought he was cute. And then his hair started getting long, and he was like (does '80s rock star impression) twirling it around.
Melodie: I know! He was such a dork! (laughing) It's like, you are not supposed to stand out that much. Just play the guitar. Stick to what you're good at.
Harmonie: (laughing) He was the Paul Schafer of Saturday Night Live.
Melodie: (laughing) But Paul, you can kind of just brush him aside. G.E. Smith, you're like, I don't want to look at you É (pause) Man, what a hard riff that was.
Harmonie: Like it's so hard for him. He's like e-e-e-e (over-exerted air guitar).
Melodie: (laughing)
Harmonie: The guitar's just an extension of a man's penis.
Melodie: (laughing)
Harmonie: It's right over it too. Right where they're moving their hand.
Song #10 "Ghosts in the Attic"
Melodie: This song sounds like The Muppets. I can see them dancing to this. (laughing)
Harmonie: You're right! You're so right! They're partying. The Balcony Men - (wiggling around) or whatever they do.
Melodie: Or playing the instruments. (pause) I like the sax.
Harmonie: Yeah, the music is a lot better than the lyrics in this song. (pause, looks at CD) Tenor sax - Paul Schafer.
Melodie: Shut up. Nu-uh. (laughs) It has to be a different Paul Schafer.
Harmonie: I'm sure it is!
Melodie: I can imagine this in some place like Memphis. Some bluesy type bar.
Harmonie: Open doors.
Melodie: All wood.
Harmonie: The music drifting down the street. Like your Mardi Gras thing again. People dancing out the door. Kicking it open and being like -
Melodie: The Muppets. Throwing confetti.
Harmonie: A '50s kind of innocence.
Melodie: Like a musical.
Harmonie: A little celebration. Clean like a musical. Not gritty at all.
Song #11 "Pasadena King"
Melodie: I like the piano.
Harmonie: Dan's on the keys.
Melodie: I really like how the lyrics work with the beat.
Harmonie: It has a good story. Makes you think.
Melodie: It's all so clear. (pause) Who is the Pasadena King?
Harmonie: I hate to be weird, but - God?
(reads lyrics)
I got his blessing.
I understand he's a fictional man.
Song #13 "St. Sandy"
Harmonie: It's kind of depressing. I think it's really pretty though.
Melodie: Yeah, it is, but St. Sandy É those lyrics I don't really like.
Harmonie: I was distracted the first two times I listened to it. Then I started reading along with the lyrics, and I think it might be about his mom?
Melodie: Yeah, I don't know what else he could've É You can't really change the person's name. (pause) I guess they did in "Hey Jude."
Harmonie: I thought it was pretty. Especially the last 30 seconds.
(CD ends with soft piano)
We were pleasantly surprised by this album. It isn't something we would normally listen to, but it sounded so darn good! Every track has its own personality. The range goes from country to folk to disco to blues, bringing in a little bit of everything else. We really wanted to give it four smiles, but it's not the perfect album. There were a couple songs that we could've done without. Melodie's favorite was "Freak Murders," and Harmonie's "Cornbread Head."
Breaking News: We just heard that Dan Holmes does in fact have a band. It's called Mojo, and they can be found this week at J.D.'s Pub.
Check out nuvo-online for samples of artists featured in this column.
E-mail: chorusgirls@nuvo.net



Dan Holmes - LIVE Mardi Gras, 2008!
Dan Holmes & Bill Ritter - GOOD TIDINGS
Dan Holmes - PURE



DanHolmesGroup is quickly becoming one of the Midwest's most sought after bands. With a keyboard-sax-drum-bass set up, this four piece group puts on a show all ages can enjoy. Their original music is a little bit of New Orleans mixed with some funk rock as told by a singer/songwriter. When Dan formed DanHolmesGroup, he sought out only the best musicians. He pulled together the talents of Joe Maddox on drums, Bill Ritter on bass, Karl Liechty on sax, and Dan himself is on keys. They are not your typical act. Story telling and heart-felt originals leave crowds begging for more.
Dan Holmes became an active part in Indianapolis' music scene in 1994. Playing every chance he could, he quickly became the go-to keyboard player for many different bands. Within the past few years, he played all over the Midwest with a national act, opened and sold a retail music store (MUSIC STATION in Avon, IN), began giving lessons, and produced a radio show dedicated to promoting Indiana's live music scene. He can be heard regularly on the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom show, and can be seen on their television show.
Dan's debut CD (PURE) was listed in the Indianapolis Star twice, first in the "take note" review column by David Lindquist ("…truly original…"), then later in the top ten best albums of the year (fifth place) also by David Lindquist. Later, PURE was reviewed in NUVO by Melodie & Harmonie, where they gave it 4-1/2 out of 5 stars.
Playing more than 250 shows a year, Dan Holmes Group is at the top of their game!