It's difficult to define soul, but the latest CD from the Holmes Brothers might be a pretty good way to start. The critically acclaimed but commercially neglected trio have been making music together for 17 years (the two actual brothers in the group for 20 years longer than that), touring the world with their blend of country, rock, blues and gospel. Amazingly, the Holmes Brothers had never even set foot in a studio until 1989.
This collection is an invigorating addition to their still-small catalog. From the choppy guitars and church-flavored vocals that push "Got Myself Together" to their bluesy take on the Beatles' "And I Love Her" (the Brothers also cover Tom Waits's "Train Song"), Promised Land is the real article: rugged, honest and undeniably soulful. (Rounder)