“Come on, Richard,” my rapper friend Beat Hunter nagged, “you have to go to at least one college football game before you graduate.” I sighed wearily. As much as I protested that I don’t really care for sports, he did have a good point. I hadn’t even been to a tailgate party before. Having nothing better to do with my Saturday, I consented to his suggestion. As we walked around the parking lot of Abilene’s Shotwell Stadium, Hunter (who is probably the most musically-attuned person I have ever met), couldn’t help but turn his head every few minutes. A young man was standing alone on a portable stage, his acoustic guitar and melodic voice drifting through the conversations and hubbub of the event. Eventually, we agreed to go over and have a closer listen. Here’s an example of what we heard:
Hunter, ever keen-eared when it comes to voices, remarked how smooth and “unbroken” his sounded. I couldn’t help but ask who he was. And sure enough, this was the Andrew Holmes. Of all the musicians in Abilene, I must have heard about Andrew easily the most often. Here he was, just a few of us gathered around to hear him.
What strikes me the most when I listen to Mr. Holmes is how complete he is as a solo performer. His lyrical construction, vocal quality, and guitar skills are at once effortless, refined, and clearly honed. Any one aspect of his musicianship is praiseworthy and would enhance a band; taken together, they enable him to be totally a sufficient solo artist.
Like a good cup of coffee or wine, there are many layers of flavor and texture that unfold as you listen to Andrew’s music. Notes of melancholy longing pass peacefully by strains of eternal optimism. Like the eye of a storm, Holmes’s songs project a supreme tranquility in the midst of upheaval. Whatever emotional jostling he speaks of, we as his listeners can hardly help but feel comforted as participants and fellow travelers in his stories. Aside from these very general musings, there’s nothing I can say to adequately capture the experience of Andrew Holmes. Give him a listen yourself and find out more about his latest album, Lionheart, on his Facebook or his own website.
The Appetizer Radio Show would not be at home here in Texas without so much local talent! Suffice to say this: Abilene is a better place when quality musicians have a platform to be heard and appreciated. He is one of those whose brightness is illuminating life out here in the desert. As Andrew would say, “Sometimes all we need to be is brighter than our scenery.”