Billy & The Kids have premiered footage of the band’s debut of the Robert Hunter-penned song “Thunder”. The debut came during the Billy & The Kids Grateful Mahalo livestreams last month and features guest contributions by Billy Strings and James Casey (Trey Anastasio Band).
The arrival of this video comes days after Strings shared footage of his solo debut of “Thunder”, captured on May 22nd in Louisville, KY. In the clip from Billy & The Kids, audiences see the first performance of “Thunder” since Bill Kreutzmann shelved the song nearly a decade ago after bringing it to life with his BK3 trio featuring Oteil Burbridge and Scott Murawski.
The Grateful Dead drummer also attached a heartfelt note to the video’s debut,
Those treasured moments when Robert Hunter would share his lyrics with me, hoping I’d put them to use, he would never–ever–mention what they were about. He didn’t give context or backstory; he didn’t give any indication about a meaning, either on the surface or anything that might be lurking beneath it. The storyteller’s job was to shed light and not to master.
For years, I’ve known that I wanted to perform “Thunder” with my band Billy & The Kids, and when Billy Strings RSVP’d to my birthday party, I saw how it would all come together: I sent him the lyrics, asked him to write new music for it, and within a day he called me back and left a voicemail with a demo that he had recorded right on his tour bus. By “demo,” I mean, he played it directly into his iPhone. I instantly fell in love with it.
It felt like such a birthday gift to debut it with him and the Kids at Grateful Mahalo just a few weeks later, and I can’t wait to play it with him and the Kids again. I think he did such a fantastic job (Hunter, too) and the jam in the middle is the Kids at their finest. Wouldn’t you agree?
Watch Billy & The Kids revive “Thunder” on May 8th, 2021 with help from Billy Strings and James Casey.
Billy & The Kids w/ Billy Strings, James Casey – “Thunder” (Robert Hunter) – Kauai, HI – 5/8/21