Arthur Holmes: Not your classic bluesman



Blues guitarist Arthur Holmes says his influences growing up probably weren't what you might expect.

"No, it was a little different for me," he said. "There were some blues influences, but not as much as you'd think.

"For me, it was Elvis Presley, Glen Campbell, Roy Clark. Not a lot of people know who Roy Clark is, but to me, he is one of the greatest guitar players in the world."

Holmes is the front man for the Arthur Holmes Blues Band, which will open "Guitar Jam V, Anniversary Special" at the Colonial Theatre on May 18.

One band or artist from each of the four previous Guitar Jam shows will perform at next month's concert. AHBB, as the group is known by its fans, played at last year's show and has the same lineup this year: Holmes on lead guitar; his good friend

and longtime sideman John Worth on bass; Bridget "Drummergirl" Wnukowski on drums; and Gary Smith on keyboards.

"We love the Colonial," Holmes said. "It's one of the nicer places we play."

The Colonial is becoming a regular stop for the group. In between Guitar Jam IV last May and this year's concert, Holmes and his crew opened for bluesmen James Mont gomery and Poppa Chubby and his band in January.

By many accounts, AHBB was one of the show's standouts.

These days, the band plays mostly the blues and what Holmes calls "blues-based" songs, enabling him to include in AHBB's shows a haunting cover of Pink Floyd's iconic song "Time" from the 1973 classic album "Dark Side of the Moon."

Not exactly a blues standard, but Holmes acknowledges proudly that he's not a classic bluesman.

"I sat down in my living room along with everyone else and watched The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show when I was a little kid," he recalled. "It was so cool.

"I remember very well the first time I saw Chuck Berry, who's another hero of mine," Holmes said. "It was on the old Dinah Shore Show. I think it was on at 3 in the afternoon. He was great. And then he went into his famous duck walk. And I loved it."

Another big influence, even though he wasn't a guitar player, was James Brown.

"Yeah," Holmes said. "James Brown was such an amazing entertainer. He was one of the guys who made me really want to be on stage."

Holmes said that while some performers who influenced him weren't guitar greats, they were, like Berry, entertainers.

"Do you remember Sly and the Family Stone?" he asked. "Incredible shows."

"The thing is, for me, it's the little things," Holmes said. "I remember the first time I saw Chicago in concert. Their guitar player [the late Terry Kath] had a blond afro and these six-inch heels. I was blown away. It isn't just the playing for me."

Guitar Jam V,
Anniversary Special

Who: One band or artist from each of the first four Guitar Jam shows: Arthur Holmes Blues Band (2012), Robin O'Herin (2011), Bobby Sweet (2010), Steve Ide and his band (2009).

When: Saturday, May 18, 8 p.m.

Where: Colonial Theatre, 111 South St., Pittsfield.

Presented by: The Berkshire Eagle. Concert proceeds go to Newspapers in Education, a program that encourages students to read.

Tickets: $17 and $27. Available at the Colonial box office or via (413) 997-4444 or

Before the show: Lenox folk band Mountain Breeze will perform in the lobby from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free admission.

To hear Arthur Holmes' music: Visit and click on "Music." 

To reach Derek Gentile:,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile


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