Rick Holmstrom
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Rick Holmstrom
Rick Holmstrom
Born (1965-05-30) May 30, 1965 (age 53)
Fairbanks, Alaska, United States
Genres Electric blues, West Coast blues, rhythm and blues[1]
Guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Labels Black Top, Tone-Cool, M.C.
William Clarke, Johnny Dyer, Rod Piazza, Mavis Staples
Website Official website

Rick Holmstrom (born May 30, 1965) is an American electric blues and rhythm and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter.[1] Holmstrom has previously worked with William Clarke, Johnny Dyer, and Rod Piazza. He is currently the bandleader for Mavis Staples.[2] In addition, Holmstrom has played and recorded with Jimmy Rogers, Billy Boy Arnold, Booker T. Jones, Jody Williams, and R. L. Burnside.[3]

One critic observed of Holmstrom, "he delivers music with technical savvy and traditional stylings, without sacrificing originality and pure adventure".[4]

Life and career

Rick Holmstrom was born on May 30, 1965 in Fairbanks, Alaska, United States, one of three children and the only son of Larry and Diane Holmstrom. His paternal grandfather, Francis O. Holmstrom, was a native of Everett, Washington who moved to Fairbanks during the early part of the middle 20th century and owned a jewelry store in downtown Fairbanks for many years. Holmstrom grew up in Fairbanks, where his father worked as a broadcaster and broadcasting executive, and also headed the Fairbanks office of the Governor of Alaska under governor Jay Hammond. After relocating to Southern California, and while attending college in Redlands, California, he joined a local blues group.[3] Holmstrom also went to blues concerts, where he played guitar with Smokey Wilson and Junior Watson.[1]

He joined William Clarke's backing band, and played both lead and rhythm guitar for three years up to 1988. That same year, Holmstrom suffered a significant tragedy in his family, as his father and one of his sisters were killed in a whitewater rafting accident in Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.[5][6] Later joining forces with Johnny Dyer, Holmstrom played on his albums, Listen Up (1994) and Shake It! (1995). He moved on to join Rod Piazza's backing group, the Mighty Flyers and, in 1996, released his first solo album, Lookout! on Black Top Records.[1] It was an instrumental affair, about which one reviewer noted "Holmstrom's inventive ideas are top-notch, making each track stand mightily on its own".[7]

However, Holmstrom continued to perform with Piazza, and help him record Tough and Tender (1997). By 2000, Holmstrom's second solo effort, Gonna Get Wild was released on Tone-Cool Records, and he stayed long enough with Piazza's backing ensemble to participate on Beyond the Source (2001). Holmstrom's next release, Hydraulic Groove (2002) is one of his most daring efforts, where he used loops and samples, and incorporated elements of acid jazz/nu-jazz, funk and trip hop to his blues, featuring guest performances of John Medeski and DJ Logic.[1]Hydraulic Groove peaked at #9 in the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart.[8] In 2005, Holmstrom played at the Dark Season Blues festival. Holmstrom turned to record production duties for other musicians before, in 2006, releasing Live at the Cafe Boogaloo.[1]

Holmstrom switched record label to M.C. Records, and in 2007 issued Late in the Night. In 2012, he toured as the guitarist in Mavis Staples' backing band.


Year Title Record label
1996 Lookout! Black Top
2000 Gonna Get Wild Tone-Cool
2002 Hydraulic Groove Tone-Cool
2006 Live at the Cafe Boogaloo Tone-Cool
2007 Late in the Night M.C. Records
2012 Cruel Sunrise M.C. Records


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Char Ham (1965-05-30). "Rick Holmstrom | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved . 
  2. ^ Greg Rapaport. "Rick Holmstrom's "Cruel Sunrise" Set for Worldwide Release August 28 | Guitar Instrumental Music". Instrumentalguitar.info. Retrieved . 
  3. ^ a b "Biography". Rickholmstrom.com. Retrieved 2011. 
  4. ^ "Allmusic ((( Gonna Get Wild! > Review )))". 
  5. ^ Hulen, David (August 8, 1988). "Film crew's raft trip ends in death; former governor escapes injury in Wrangell St. Elias accident which claims 3". Anchorage Daily News. Anchorage: The McClatchy Company. p. A1. 
  6. ^ Coats, Ted (June 9, 1999). "Recent Alaska Whitewater Accidents". TC's Alaska Whitewater Rafting Page. Retrieved 2013. 
  7. ^ "Allmusic ((( Lookout! > Review )))". 
  8. ^ "Allmusic ((( Rick Holmstrom > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". 
  9. ^ "Rick Holmstrom | Album Discography". AllMusic. 1965-05-30. Retrieved . 

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