Rick Holmstrom on “Pops” and Mavis Staples

Alaska-born guitar slinger Rick Holmstrom has had a long and winding career in the world of roots music but, these days, he has one of the most unique gigs of all. Both on record (including the Grammy nominated You Are Not Alone) and on the road, Holmstrom is the main guitarist backing legendary singer Mavis Staples of the Staple Singers. Essentially, he’s paid to re-imagine the playing of “Pops” Staples. In this video interview, we asked Holmstrom about the secrets to Pops’ tone and technique.

“It’s not a history lesson,” Holmstrom says of playing with Mavis Staples. “It’s about getting a groove and saying something. Moving people.”

Interview and recording by Marc Greilsamer for the Fretboard Journal.