Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes: It Is What It Is (Blue Front Records)

Blues as gloriously undiluted as moonshine whiskey.

Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes: It Is What It Is album artwork

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Listening to Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes wail, play harmonica, and pick on his guitar, it’s hard to believe this is a new album from a contemporary artist. It Is What It Is could have arrived direct from the 20s, that’s how strongly Holmes evokes the Bentonia country blues tradition of which he is the greatest living exponent. The only concession to modern technology is the electric guitar he plays to menacing effect on Bobby Brown and It Had To Be The Devil, but it’s still an incredibly raw experience. It’s just Holmes and the blues, the production so sparse you can hear the buzz of his fingers on the strings. A hypnotic, visceral album, rich in darkness, malevolence and power.

After starting his writing career covering the unforgiving world of MMA, David moved into music journalism at Rhythm magazine, interviewing legends of the drum kit including Ginger Baker and Neil Peart. A regular contributor to Prog, he’s written for Metal Hammer, The Blues, Country Music Magazine and more. The author of Chasing Dragons: An Introduction To The Martial Arts Film, David shares his thoughts on kung fu movies in essays and videos for 88 Films, Arrow Films, and Eureka Entertainment. He firmly believes Steely Dan’s Reelin’ In The Years is the tuniest tune ever tuned.