Ireland-born, LA-based Bren Holmes, former bassist of the Young Dubliners (one of my favorite bands), is set to release his debut solo on September 17th. The album is called Everything You Never Wanted and he’s self-releasing on his own label, Bren Holmes Productions label. As a fan and a friend, I’m excited to see Bren explore new territories I’m not used to hearing from him.
Based on the press release and a song you can hear below, sounds like Bren is exploring his rootsy, Americana side.
Bren talked about the album: “I don’t set out to write a particular song or music.” “Whatever comes out, I just go with it.” While Holmes states that “there’s no particular theme to the record,” he admits that this set of emotionally rich songs is “about loss and heartbreak over a long span of time.” This theme might be best exemplified on “Ugly.” Featuring a duet between Holmes and former Donnas frontwoman Brett Anderson, the song ponders a “will-you-still-love-when” question in a “roller coaster ride” of a relationship. Surviving a rocky relationship also is a motif in the album’s sole cover, a catchy reworking of “S.O.S.,” which uses mandolin and guitars to remove some of the gloss from ABBA’s original.
Holmes co-produced the album with Bryan Dobbs (Brett Anderson, Rattle The Knee) and the two handled much of the instrumentation. Holmes performed on guitar, bass, mandolin, and percussion, while Dobbs played electric guitars, mandolin, banjo, lap steel and dobro. Holmes, however, also enlisted a number of his musician pals to lend their support. Besides Anderson, the album features contributions by Cindy Wasserman (Dead Rock West), ace session drummer Dave Raven (Keith Richards, Nellie McKay, John Doe), violinist Rachel Grace (Foo Fighters, Usher, Annie Lennox), producer/musician Tim Boland, and drummer Ward Poulos. The uilleann pipes, bodhran, and whistles, played by Holmes’ fellow Dublin expat Pat D’Arcy, injects some Irish flavor into the music.
The album cover features photographs from Bren as well. It’s how we became friends when I took photos of the Young Dubs many years ago in 2006. He reached out and we’ve been talking shop every since. For those that don’t know, Bren Holmes is an accomplished professional photographer, whose work has been exhibited in galleries in both Los Angeles and Dublin, along with having done photo shoots for commercial use. More of Holmes’ photography can be viewed at www.brendopix.com.
Listen to the song “You Say:”