Billy Strings Debuts ‘Thunder’ Featuring Robert Hunter Lyrics In Louisville

By Nate Todd May 23, 2021 11:22 am PDT

Billy Strings continued his three-night run at Louisville, Kentucky’s Waterfront Park on Saturday. Strings and his band debuted “Thunder” featuring words by late great Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter during the first set.

Billy and company — mandolinist Jarrod Walker, bassist Royal Masat and banjo player Billy Failing — kicked things off with the Walker co-composed, “Red Daisy,” written with frequent collaborator fiddler Christian Ward. Jimmy Reed’s “The Likes Of Me” followed. The quartet then debuted “Thunder.” Strings recently led Billy & The Kids through the song for the Grateful Mahalo: Billy Kreutzmann’s 75th Birthday Pa’ina livestream series a couple weeks back. The tune was originally performed by BK3, Kreutzmann’s short-lived trio with bassist Oteil Burbridge and guitarist Scott Murawski in the late 2000s. Billy updated the song a bit to create a newly minted version. Next up, the staple “Taking Water” led into Frank Wakefield’s “End Of The Rainbow.” The newer tune “Hellbender” then came ahead of a Billy Nershi-penned, The String Cheese Incident classic “Black Clouds.” A pair of new tunes, “Wargasm” and “Leaders” closed out the first frame.

The staple instrumental “Pyramid Country” got the second set underway and segued into JJ Cale’s “Ride Me High,” also covered by Widespread Panic, which in turn headed into “While I’m Waiting Here” to close out the set opening section. The band noted their location on the Ohio River with an apropos “Banks Of The Ohio,” which contained a “While I’m Waiting Here” reprise, as per SetlistFM. After performing “Black Clouds” in the first set, Billy continued to nod to jamgrass pioneers with Leftover Salmon’s barnburner “Down In The Hollow.” “Away From The Mire,” from Billy’s Grammy-winning album Home, would count as the penultimate song of the set ahead of closer, a tribute to another famous waterway, Johnny Cash’s “Big River.” String’s “Long Forgotten Dream” served as the encore.

Watch video of “Thunder” and “Ride Me High” below via the JamBase Live Video Archive:


00:00:00
Music City Maven (See 35 videos)
Billy Strings (See 377 videos)

00:00:00
Music City Maven (See 35 videos)
Billy Strings (See 377 videos)

Setlist

Billy Strings at Waterfront Park

Set 1
  • Red Daisy
  • The Likes of Me  
  • Thunder  
  • Taking Water  
  • End of the Rainbow  
  • Hellbender
  • Black Clouds  
  • Wargasm
  • Leaders
Set 2
  • Pyramid Country  
  • Ride Me High  
  • While I'm Waiting Here  
  • Banks of the Ohio  
  • Down in the Hollow  
  • Away From the Mire
  • Big River  
Encore
  • Long Forgotten Dream
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