Rick "L.A. Holmes" Holmstrom

Photo by R.J. Bianchino  2001

Rick Holmstrom was born on May 30, 1965 in, of all places, Fairbanks, Alaska. His father was a disc jockey and Rick was brought up listening to the likes of Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and the Ventures. In 1985 his family moved to Southern California. There, in Los Angeles, he started a garage type blues band covering Jimmy Reed and Chuck Berry songs. He began going to blues clubs like the Pioneer Club, Babe & Ricky's, and the Pure Pleasure Club and began hanging out with such greats as Smokey Wilson and Junior Watson, one of Rod Piazza's original Mighty Flyers.

From 1985 to 1988 Holmstrom toured with harmonica player William Clark, spending one year of this time as rhythm guitarist only. During that period he also backed up Jimmy Rogers, Smokey Wilson, Billy Boy Arnold, and Finis Tusby. Later he was befriended by another great harpist, delta bluesman Johnny Dyer who he started playing with in 1989. And in 1994 he was featured on Dyer's "Listen Up". This was followed by Shake It! (again with Dyer) in 1995. Both were released on Black Top Records.

Through Black Top, Holmstrom had worked with Rod Piazza on numerous occassions. So when Rod's guitar player, Alex Schultz, gave his notice in 1995, Holmstrom was the obvious choice. In 1996 he recorded the all instrumental "Lookout!" for Rounder Records. This was followed by his Tone-Cool debut "Gonna Get Wild" in 2000. On that disc Holmstrom not only plays guitar but takes over lead vocals, and has written all thirteen songs.

There is no doubt about it. Rick "L.A. Holmes" Holmstrom has come a long way from his Alaskan roots and garage band guitar licks. Says Blues Revue Magazine "...Holmstrom is destined for greatness." Having seen him many times live, I can not be in more agreement.

R.J. Bianchino
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