Illinois native Al Holliday traffics in the sort of timeless soul music that lifts the heart and drops a funky hammer. Holliday’s keyboard-laden tunes mix the best elements of R&B, Old-School blues, soul, funk, and jazz in an incredibly winsome way.
Earlier this year Al Holliday emerged seemingly out of nowhere (actually it was Collinsville, Illinois) with a debut album, Made It Through the Mill, Again, and made fans of St. Louis blues, soul and R&B more than take notice. If they weren’t pushing back the tables and dancing, they weren’t alive. With the voice of a grizzled blues shouter three times his years, Holliday fronts a gutsy, old-school, similarly youthful group, the East Side Rhythm Band, that locks in to his barrelhouse piano playing and original songs with rhythm & blues in the tradition of Roy Milton or Wynonie Harris. Pound for blues-pounding pound, Holliday & Co. are among our city’s finest musical revivalists.
Collinsville, Illinois, native Al Holliday made quite the splash locally with his latest effort, 2013’s Made It Through the Mill, Again — so much so, in fact, that we named it one of the best releases of the year and dubbed Holliday one of the best singers in St. Louis. But superlatives aside, he and his crew, the East Side Rhythm Band, absolutely warrant your attention. Its members may only be in their twenties, but you wouldn’t know it from the music, which has the depth and grit one might expect from seasoned veterans. Altogether, Al Holliday and Co. form one of the finest St. Louis revival bands this side of Pokey LaFarge — and that’s no small feat.
Listening to Al Holliday belt out his soul-revival tunes, you’d think he was a 65-year-old Motown renegade compelled to sing about hard times and funky women