Old King's Reel
After a first release that was picked up by over 200 radio stations, The Old King's Reel is the second release by songwriter Bruce Holmes. Bruce Holmes grew up a finger-picking folkie. But then caught the rock bug and wanted to join the Beatles. When that didn't pan out he returned to his roots. For much of his adult life he's done shape-note singing with the Sacred Harp community. He studied flat-picking with the bluegrass folks. He's learned fiddle tunes with his daughter. His time on the fiddle allows him to pick up a mandolin or bouzouki and you'll hear both instruments on the new CD along with the concertina he bought himself for Christmas a year past. Along with his love of Celtic music, his influences include the Byrds, Jethro Tull, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Warren Zevon. When people tell him he reminds them of Ian Anderson, he takes that as a huge compliment. But more than anything he loves a good story. And a lifetime of stories is shared in his songs. Holmes has spent much of his life teaching. He's taught Aikido, folk dancing, chess (he was the coach for Oakton Chess, Illinois State Champions in 1993 and 1994) and even juggling. He's the author of Anvil of the Heart, a science fiction novel that made the Locus recommended reading list for 1984. He also created a 24 cassette series on the Feldenkrais Method that is used all around the globe. His first CD, Life's An Intelligence Test, resonates with a variety of musical influences. Radio Teutoburger Wald in Germany called it a masterpiece. Six songs from the album were submitted to the Great Lakes Songwriting Competition. Four were awarded Honorable Mentions, one took 3rd Place and one took 2nd Place. In 2005 Bruce was selected for the FARM Juried Showcase. In 2007 he was one of five Finalists in the Texas Songwriters' Serenade Contest. In February of 2008 he won the Annual Coffee House Mid-Winter Talent Contest. The title song for The Old King's Reel is built around a fiddle tune Holmes learned from Natalie MacMaster, and many of the musicians who played on the album (John Williams on accordion, Tony McManus on guitar, Alain Genty on bass and Devin Shepherd in fiddle) are well known in the world of Celtic music. Haunting vocal support is provided by songwriters Kat Eggleston, Jerry Thiel and Ingrid Graudins. He also has the acclaimed pianist Jacqueline Schwab and cellist Reinmar Seidler playing on several of the songs. On the final track, "The Illinois 7th Regiment," Mark Dvorak joins him on banjo and Don Steirnberg plays the mandolin.