Born and raised in Belfast, Janet Holmes first performed aged 14 and has remained fearless onstage ever since. A teenager in the early '80s, she fronted SOS, a heavy-rock gospel group, for over ten years - recording a single, appearing often on Ulster TV, touring Scotland and supporting international gospel rock artists visiting Belfast. In the early '90s she recorded an EP as the Bare Bones, an acoustic duo, and was regularly in demand as a backing vocalist on stage and record for many other local artists (including current Bob Harris fave Brian Houston).
Determinedly a 'hobby musician' during this period, things began to veer towards the pro music world with the formation of Bird-Dog in 1997. Bird-Dog fused classic bluegrass and Irish trad with Swing-era jazz. A potent fusion, the group's album, 'Traditional Roots', appeared within six months and they played throughout Northern Ireland, with numerous music bar residencies and Irish festival appearances. After a triumph at the European Bluegrass Festival in Holland (1999) a track from the group's set featured on the subsequent festival CD. Broadcasts included sessions and concerts for BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Radio Scotland and Dutch radio. Janet left Bird-Dog in mid-2000 when the imminent arrival of a baby put all her musical options on hold.
Colin Harper - Belfast-based music writer and biographer, who had long regarded Janet, even back in SOS days, as a world class talent unrealised - invited her to front a track (under communal guise as 'The Legends Of Tomorrow') for the September 2000 Market Square Records release 'People On The Highway: A Bert Jansch Encomium'. Among many others contributing to this hugely popular album was long-retired cult British R&B singer Duffy Power. Duffy was completely knocked out by Janet's voice and, via Harper, initiated a series of 'virtual duets', recorded in London and Belfast, for the forthcoming swansong Duffy Power album 'True' (his first in 30 years!).
Inspired by the belief in Janet shown by Duffy - a man who has worked with the very best of his time, from Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker to John McLaughlin and Rod Argent - Harper decided that such a world-class vocalist deserved a fair hearing on a national level - even if he had to make it happen himself... And he did!
'The Road To The West' - sleeved in the beautiful, dreamlike art of pre-war Belfast art visionary John Luke - is the result, encompassing influences that range from the bittersweet country sound of Emmylou Harris to the sweet soul of Paul Carrack. Some tracks emphasise one influence or another; lead track 'Be The One' - co-written with current 'alt. rock' sensation and recording artist for Bright Star Iain Archer - gets the blend just right.
After the success of 'The Road to the West' Janet went on to record 'Wonder Why' which has a more mellow country sound. The other big difference this time is that Janet wrote 9 of the 13 tracks herself and it has received great critical acclaim. Jack Bernhardt music writer for North Carolina's "News and Observer" said:
" 'Wonder Why' the alluring self produced second CD by singer/songwriter Janet Holmes deserves a place alongside the most celebrated recordings on both sides of the Pond. Her influences include American Folk and Country. Her songs are intelligent and hopeful, inward-looking reflections on affairs of the heart and essence of the soul. Holmes has been called a world class talent unrealized. 'Wonder Why' could bring her to the attention of a wider audience who may appreciate one of Ireland's finest artists"
Ferguson, Holmes and Henry, our trio, has just released a new CD of original material. All the music was written variously by ourselves. Check it out at www.reverbnation.com/fergusonholmesandhenry
If you want to purchase contact me through the website
© 2008 Janet Holmes | Design by JeminiJem