Hollis Kelley served as a pastor in Alabama for over 48 years. During that time he had 3 children. And just like the stories of many great patriarchs, his passion for serving others was passed down to his eldest son Murray, who also became a pastor. Like his father before him, Murray stood behind a pulpit every Sunday for over 40 years, and spoke from the heart in hopes of making a difference in the lives of his congregation. Murray’s heart for serving others was inherited by his son Brandon.
In essence the story of Hollis Creek Revival started before any of the founding members were born. Before Brandon, Clint or Jacob picked up their first instruments. “I wanted to honor my grandfather when starting this project. In a way it was about recognizing my heritage and the legacy of my grandfather and my father,” Brandon Kelley explains.
Brandon’s passion for music began at the age of 14 when he began to play around on the family piano. The piano had been given to them as a gift from a friend even though no one in the family actually knew how to play. The band’s lead singer continued to learn and grow his piano skills while adding the acoustic/electric guitar, and harmonica to his repertoire. He began writing songs and by the age of 22 he decided to make a career out of his passion and made the move to Nashville. After signing a development deal with Sony music and spending years on the road, Kelley soon grew weary of the music industry and took a break to do missionary work. “After only a year-and-a-half I was already missing making music. It’s who I am. But I also loved what I was doing on the mission trips, so I wanted to join the two efforts. I decided to start a new musical chapter; this time with a purpose.”
Inspired by his mission trips, Kelley formed a new band in 2014 with his friends Clint Singleton (bass, acoustic/electric guitar) and Jacob Patillo (electric/acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin). The guys met through a mutual friend in 2006 at a church in Dothan, Alabama. They formed a friendship almost instantly. Shortly thereafter Brandon approached the guys to go on tour with him to support his solo album. Through rehearsals and touring the group solidified their chemistry and performance. “When we played shows it was all about the audience, connecting with them and being a part of something that is bigger than all of us,” Clint remembers. Jacob added, “The thing is with music you get to tell an ever changing story. We get to tell a different story every night on the road and share that with the people around us. That is what I love.” When it was time for Brandon to form this band he knew exactly who he wanted to join him. Brandon described it best by saying, “These guys are family, and I couldn’t imagine taking this journey with anyone else.”
In February of 2015, Hollis Creek Revival began working on their debut album, In The River. They wanted to do something a little different with this record; a throwback of sorts reminiscent of the vinyl days. “We wanted to have a distinct A-side and B-side on the album,” Brandon states. The A-side has more of a modern feel and sound. The B-side showcases a vintage, retro sound. “On the B-side we recorded through seventies pre-amps and mic’s to give it an honest sound. Our thinking was, if we want it to sound like it was recorded in the seventies we might as well record it on what they would have used back then,” Clint explains. Working with producer Jason Hoard (Third Day, Casting Crowns, Natalie Grant) the band was able to create the record that they were trying to capture. “Jason did a great job of getting us the sounds we wanted. We had an idea of what we were looking for and he got it. We had an immediate connection on a personal level and I think that comes through on the record. Jason is an amazing talent and he really brought the songs to life,” says Kelley. From front to back, the range of songs can be felt and heard. The tune “Believe” takes you through all of the creations seen in life that make you feel at home on earth. “Right On Time” is a catchy folk rock song. As you work your way to the B-side songs like “Weightless Yesterday” and “Like Brand New” paint a picture of an intimate conversation of faith.
In The River finishes with the an ole traditional hymn “What A Day That Will Be.” “This was my grandfather’s and is my father’s favorite hymn so I had to have it on the album. It takes me back to a place where I’m sitting in a country church in south Alabama”. The culmination of a vision through musical and lyrical integrity brings a collection of songs that will not only will have you singing them all day, but will also inspire you in your faith.