Hundreds bobbed their heads and tapped their feet for two straight hours Saturday night as the Holmes Brothers played at the YMCA Boulton Center for Performing Arts in Bay Shore.
The band, made up of brothers Sherman and Wendell Holmes as well as longtime friend Popsy Dixon, have had a 30-plus year career recording nine original albums, with two making the top 5 on the Billboard Blues Albums chart.
“Their talent is phenomenal and to see them perform in a venue on Long Island was awesome,” said Joe Geluso, of Greenlawn.
The Holmes Brothers blends blues, gospel, soul, R&B, rock and roll and country, with each member getting a chance to sing lead.
“We come from Virginia, and I grew up listening to Hank Williams and the blues,” said Wendell Holmes, who plays guitar and piano. “I learned to love this music and now it’s part of me.”
The brothers played an eclectic mix of songs from their latest album “Feed My Soul” as the audience sang along, knowing every word.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m playing for two people or 10,000 people anywhere in the world,” said Wendell Holmes. “When I pick up my instrument I just feel it and I love performing.”
Wendell Holmes, 70, cracked jokes with the audience between songs and said “statistics show if you get a Holmes Brothers album, you live 10 to 15 years longer.”
The younger Holmes brother got serious as he discussed his recent battle with cancer and sang a ballad dedicated to his wife.
“I was sitting in the front row and you could really see their spirit and feel Wendell’s energy,” said Lorenzo Licopoli, 63, of Northport.
The night included a special performance by Wendell’s grandson Cameron, 7, who played on the keyboard “My Heart Will Go On.”
“It was a very warm feeling when Cameron came on stage because you could see how proud his grandfather was,” said Geluso.
After the performance, the Holmes Brothers signed CDs and photos for fans.
“They’re still writing amazing songs to this day,” said Yvonne Licopoli, 54, of Northport after she got an autograph. “With great musicians, age doesn’t matter.”
Photo: Wendell Holmes played guitar and keyboard during his performance at the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bay Shore. (Jan. 14, 2012)