Willie “Popsy” Dixon, drummer and vocalist of the critically acclaimed soul/blues band The Holmes Brothers, has been diagnosed with stage four bladder cancer. He is celebrated for his soaring, soulful multi-octave vocals and his driving, in-the-pocket drumming. Shortly after performing with the band on December 6, Dixon was hospitalized with pneumonia. Doctors then discovered the cancer. He is currently in hospice care in Virginia.
Dixon, born in Virginia Beach, Virginia on July 26, 1942, met brothers Sherman and Wendell Holmes at a New York gig in 1967. Dixon sat in with the brothers and sang two songs. “After that second song,” recalls Wendell, “Popsy was a brother.” They played in a variety of Top 40 bar bands until 1979, when the three officially joined forces and formed The Holmes Brothers band. The band has toured the world, releasing 12 albums starting with 1990’s In The Spirit on Rounder. Their most recent release is 2014’s Brotherhood on Alligator. The New York Times calls The Holmes Brothers “deeply soulful, uplifting and timeless.”
In September 2014, The Holmes Brothers were honored with a National Endowment For The Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor the United States bestows upon its folk and traditional artists.