Billy Strings has shared a pro-shot video of his debut performance of “Thunder”, featuring lyrics by the late Robert Hunter, from Waterfront Park in Louisville, KY on May 22nd. Strings’ debut of the song penned by the Grateful Dead lyricist came as a highlight of the bluegrass ensemble’s second of three nights in Louisville.

“Thunder” had been played before by Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann alongside Oteil Burbridge and Scott Murawski in his BK3 project, but had been shelved for nearly a decade. Then the tune was dusted off last month for Billy & The Kids‘ Grateful Maholo streaming event, featuring Strings amongst many other second guests, where “Thunder” was given new life. The tune continued to morph, however, two weeks later when Strings and his solo outfit debuted its bluegrass telling of the song.

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Strings noted in the video’s description,

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. 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!!

Watch Billy Strings debut his new music written to the Robert Hunter lyrics for “Thunder” in Louisville.

Billy Strings – “Thunder” (Robert Hunter) – Louisville, KY –5/22/21

[Video: Billy Strings]