Holmes writes ‘story songs’ for grownup folks

Published 11:00 pm Monday, December 31, 2012

Brent Holmes returned to his hometown of Brundidge on Saturday for a performance at studio 116.

When a thought like “You throwed a wrench in our household plans” comes to mind, it just can’t sit there. You gotta do something with it.

What Brent Holmes does with thoughts like that is turn them into songs – story songs.

Holmes has been writing story songs for years. He wrote a few songs for such notables as Jerry Clower and Minnie Pearle but, mainly, he wrote story songs for children.

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“I got so busy making CDs and DVDs for children that I didn’t do much of anything else for about 12 years,” Holmes said. “But I’ve always enjoyed performing and I’d done some of it. First, at Calico Fort in Fort Deposit and at Old Alabama Town in Montgomery. I knew back then that I wanted, some day, to perform my music.”

About a year ago, Holmes decided to get back into the performing arts but realized that he didn’t have enough material for a two-hour performance.

“So, I had to get busy writing and for big folks,” he said, laughing.

For his story songs for grown folks who enjoy the Clower-kind of humor, Holmes only had to look as far back as his childhood and the small town of Brundidge where he did a lot of his growing up.

Holmes was back in Brundidge Saturday night for an encore performance at studio 116 and many of his story songs were about the town and its people. And, the townspeople turned out to hear what he had to say about them.

“Brent is a great songwriter and singer,” said Les Jackson. “We really enjoyed his songs because we could relate to them. They were all very entertaining, just a lot of fun.”

Holmes said that he likes to write story songs about things that people don’t normally sing about – or that “normal” people don’t sing about.

“I like to write and sing about wacky things,” he said with a smile. “Things like hardware stores and building materials. One of my favorite songs is ‘I’d Rather Watch the Concrete Set.’ I like the visual of a truck pulling into the driveway and the concrete settin’ while the truck is settin’.

Holmes also likes to write story songs with a little “meat” to them.

“I’ve written several patriotic songs,” he said. “One I wrote after I visited the Punchbowl National Cemetery of the Pacific in Oahu, Hawaii. This older gentleman was sitting there in a wheelchair looking out at the markers. Many of them marked those who were killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. I knew there must be a story somewhere.”

Not knowing the story, Holmes “imagined” a story.

Many of his stories are homegrown others are imagined but all of them are stamped with the Brent Holmes’ trademark – homespun humor and hometown heart.

Holmes’ hope now is to sing his stories at folk festivals and other venues across the country.

He is not deserting his kids’ tunes because they have propelled him to the height of one of the most highly regarded singer/songwriter of children’s song. But, he’s excited about his future as a singer/song writer of wacky songs for grownup folks.