Watch Billy Strings Perform ‘Thunder’ Featuring Robert Hunter’s Lyrics

The guitarist shared his thoughts on being asked by Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann to write the music for the song.

By Scott Bernstein Jun 15, 2021 8:26 am PDT

Guitarist Billy Strings wrote the music for “Thunder,” a song featuring lyrics penned by the late Robert Hunter. Strings unveiled official video documenting his band’s first performance of the tune which came at Louisville's Waterfront Park on May 22.

“Thunder” was premiered earlier in May by Strings and Billy & The Kids during the second of three “Grateful Mahalo: Billy Kreutzmann’s 75th Birthday Pa’ina” livestream concerts filmed in Kauai, Hawaii. The guitarist shared a note revealing Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann tapped him to create music for Hunter’s “Thunder” lyrics.


“I was blown out of the atmosphere when Billy Kreutzmann said he wanted me to take a crack at writing the music to these lyrics by the late great Robert Hunter,” Strings wrote in the note accompanying the video. “I cried like a baby for like an hour after I hung up the phone. I can’t recall a time being so overcome with joyful emotion. This happened on a day when I was really doubting myself as well. Thank you Billy K for trusting me with this.. it is seriously such an honor. Hope we play it again at Red Rocks next month!!”

Billy Strings reunites with Billy & The Kids and saxophonist James Casey for Dead On The Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado on Tuesday, July 13.

Check out Strings’ first “Thunder” performance with his band (mandolinist Jarrod Walker, banjoist Billy Failing and bassist Royal Masat) below:

Billy Strings (See 97 videos)
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