The Holmes Brothers

And while upstart pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph's recent successes — a Grammy Awards performance included — have given the genre one well-known ambassador to the mainstream, the Holmes' latest, Simple Truths, might push these elder statesmen of the Church of Funk farther into the public eye.

The Holmes Brothers have church choir roots, but Simple Truths exposes them as brilliant secular artists. Capable of writing originals that swagger ("Run Myself Out Of Town") and overflow with beauty ("We Meet, We Part, We Remember"), the Holmes' interpretations of others' work are equally impressive.

Wendell Holmes' gruff shouts and fuzzy guitar effects overhaul Hank Williams' country classic "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and the group's rich harmonies drive a toe-tapping rendition of Collective Soul's "Shine."

Disappointingly, Simple Truths' power wanes the few times the Holmes Brothers venture too far into slow gospel or blues. Still, it's an enjoyable listen. But when a band can bring the funk like these guys, tossing that skill aside for any duration is just sinful.

Grade: B

~Dave Rossetti