Ross Holmes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ross Holmes
Born (1984-06-14) June 14, 1984 (age 36)
Fort Worth, Texas
GenresFolk, Bluegrass, Classical, Folk rock
Occupation(s)Violinist, Fiddler, Composer and Producer
InstrumentsFiddle, Violin, Mandolin
Years active2002 - Present
Associated actsMumford & Sons, Bruce Hornsby, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Warren Haynes, Cadillac Sky

Ross Holmes (born June 14, 1984) is an American violinist, fiddler, composer and producer known for his progressive style that is genre fluid, mixing old and new world styles.[1]

Early life[edit]

Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, Holmes's family was steeped in music, especially Texas contest fiddling. His Grandfather played the violin and that was Ross’s first introduction to the instrument. At the age of 8, his younger sister (Katie Shore from Asleep at the Wheel) started taking fiddle lessons and this quickly piqued Ross’s interest to learn the instrument for himself.[2]

Holmes foundational training combined Texas contest fiddle and classical styles taught to him by his mentors, Texas fiddlers Jimmie Don Bates, Joey McKenzie and Dr. Kurt Sprenger of the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra. At the age of 11, Holmes enrolled in the Mark O’Connor string camp which acted as a major catalyst for him to pursue a career in music. Additionally, his background and training as a member of the Texas Boys Choir was Holmes first exposure as a touring musician across the U.S.[3]

Music career[edit]

Holmes has worked with famous bands and artists such as Mumford & Sons, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Warren Haynes, Ryan Bingham, Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn, and Keith & Kristyn Getty. He is a founding member of progressive Bluegrass group, Cadillac Sky.

Mumford & Sons, Austin City Limits, 2011

Cadillac Sky[edit]

Cadillac Sky formed in 2002 when Holmes met founding members Bryan Simpson (vocals, mandolin), Matt Menefee (banjo) in Texas. The group’s early years reflected a more traditional bluegrass sound, which evolved to the progressive bluegrass style they were later acclaimed for.[4]

The ensemble got a foothold touring regionally around the south. When their progress was interrupted in 2004, Holmes drove overnight to Nashville for an audition with fast-rising country traditionalist, Josh Turner. Holmes earned his first industry experience on the road with the baritone star.

Cadillac Sky became active again in 2006 with the group signing to the Skaggs Family label. They released their debut album, Blind Man Walking; which reached number two on the US Grass Billboard Charts. Later on in the winter of 2011 Cadillac Sky disbanded, declaring a hiatus.[5]

Mumford and Sons[edit]

With Cadillac Sky on hiatus, Mumford & Sons invited Ross to be their fiddle player. He toured globally as the band evolved to one of the largest pop sensations, making headline appearances for 250,000 people at the Glastonbury Festival, Lollapalooza in Chicago, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.[6]

Holmes joined Railroad Revival Tour, a multi-day jaunt that Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show traveled by a 14-car train from Oakland to New Orleans, playing six concerts along the way. A documentary called Big Easy Express developed out of this tour, directed by Emmett Malloy premiered at SXSW 2012 and won a Grammy Award in 2013.

Holmes became a deep contributor to Mumford & Sons where he acted as arranger for the string parts for the band’s anticipated second album Babel. The album went on to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2012 in which Holmes was recognized for his role by The Recording Academy.[1]


In 2010 Holmes musical explorations with Cadillac Sky banjo player Matt Menefee evolved into a duo project called ChessBoxer. The style reflected a movement to the Newgrass sound by combining genres of bluegrass, folk and rock. In 2013 Holmes and Menefee self-released their debut EP ChessBoxer.[3] In 2014, double bassist Royal Masat became a member of ChessBoxer. In 2015, the trio self-released their second recorded work, Apollo EP, while supporting guitarist Warren Haynes on the international Ashes & Dust Tour.

Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers[edit]

In 2013 Holmes received a phone call from Bruce Hornsby who expressed interest in working with him. Holmes became a member of Hornsby’s touring band, the Noisemakers, and from 2014-2017 played fiddle and mandolin on tour and on Hornsby's latest studio release, Rehab Reunion. Holmes became indispensable to the new sound of the band but left in 2018 when he was invited to become a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band[edit]

In Jan 2018, Holmes was invited to join the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for several shows as a substitute after John McEuen's departure from the band in the fall of 2017. After establishing a rapport with the band, Holmes was invited to become a member of NGDB along with Jaime Hanna, son of Jeff Hanna.

Debut Release[edit]

On Oct 23rd, 2018, Holmes self-released his debut album, "Not Very Good at Winning," a collection of 12 Texas style contest fiddle tunes recorded in 360° sound at Southern Ground Studios in Nashville, TN. The album is the first solo unaccompanied recording of Texas style contest fiddle tunes since Eck Robertson recorded in New York City June 30th and July 1st, 1922.


Cadillac Sky (Band member - Fiddle, Vocals, Writer, and Misc instruments)[edit]

Year Work Record Label

Talent Show

Self Release

Blind Man Walking

Skaggs Family Records

Gravity's Our Enemy

Self Release

Weary Angel EP

Self Release

Letter's In The Deep

Dualtone Records

Mumford & Sons (Touring member - Fiddle, Misc instruments, Arranger)[edit]

Year Work Record Label

Big Easy Express



Glassnote Records

The Road to Red Rocks

Glassnote Records

Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers (Band member - Fiddle, Mandolin, Vocals)[edit]

Year Work Record Label

Rehab Reunion

429 Records

ChessBoxer (Band member - Fiddle, Vocals, Writer, and Misc instruments)[edit]

Year Work Record Label

ChessBoxer (Self Titled)

Self Release

Apollo EP

Self Release

Solo (Fiddle, Arranger, Producer)[edit]

Year Work Record Label

Not Very Good At Winning

Ross Holmes


Year Title Artist

Fall Away

Katie Shore


Sam Burchfield


Ben Sparaco

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Mumford & Sons Were Kicked Out of an Atlanta Strip Club". 12 September 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Ross Holmes - OrchestralArtistDetails". Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b "A chat with new Noisemaker, Ross Holmes". 24 April 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Cadillac Sky: New Album 6/08 Produced by Black Keys' Auerbach". 27 April 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Cadillac Sky Goes On Hiatus". 8 January 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Ross Holmes - Artist details". Retrieved 12 October 2017.