Thunder and Rain – Start Believing
Self Released – 1 November 2017
Thunder and Rain are a four-piece from Colorado, comprising mandolinist Pete Weber, Chris Herbst on dobro, bassist Ian Haegele and singer-guitarist Erinn Peet-Lukes, drawing on roots in traditional bluegrass and folk spliced with elements of pop and rock, this is their second album and one that should go a long way to getting their name known on the Americana circuit.
Chugging along on a catchy melody with a folksy lilt, Cut The Wire, with its theme about transition and change, perhaps recalls the early days of 10,000 Maniacs and quickly establishes the credentials of co-writers Peet-Lukes and RP Oates, the former band member who contributes piano and banjo here.
Starting slow and gathering pace, Once I Was is an even folksier number, Erinn’s clear and pure voice well-spotlighted as Natalie Padilla’s fiddle enters to help drive the track to a rousing finale.
Although the slow waltzing What Am I Gonna Do has a touch of the blues and the uptempo Days Before rides an urgent riff, there’s not a great variation from the rural roots musical template as the album proceeds. That’s not intended as a criticism. Indeed, as it flows from numbers like the gently rolling mandolin led Babe, You’re Gonna Leave Me, the Dixie Chicks traces of the melancholic I Won’t Try For You, LA, bluegrass chug Tennessee Is Burning and the wistful Wyoming Is For Miles, the foot-tappingly infectious, often dreamy melodies and tumbling chorus hooks work to soothe and invigorate like clean mountain air.
With its interlaced lap steel, mandolin and fiddle, The Reckoning provides a strong centrepiece with its yearning ache while it closes with the achingly lovely Breaks My Bones, Padilla’s fiddle again adding emotional colour. Get to the eye of the storm and soak it up.