Thunderbolt & Lightfoot

Songs for Mixed Company

National Press

28 Total

 

------------------------------------------

Music Emissions, Music You Can Use, The Modern Beat, Signatures in Time, Music of The World, Groping Towards Grace, Burned Out Borders, Hipsters, Hippies, and Dreamers, Unchained Music, Growing Old With Rock and Roll, Lonesome Highway, Vents Magazine (CD Review), The Alternate Root, StereoStickman (Single Review), My Funk (Single Review), SuperStarCentral (Single Review), Dancing About Architecture (Single Review), The Ratings Game (Single Review), Beachsloth (Single Review), The Band Camp Diaries (Single Review), Skope Magazine (Single Review), NataliezWorld (Single Review), MuzicNotez (Single Review), Middle Tennessee Music (Single Review), Music Street Journal, Rootstime (Netherlands), Vents Magazine (Interview), Divide and Conquer,

------------------------------------------

28. Music Emissions

09/05/17

By: Jason Hillenburg

URL: http://www.musicemissions.com/blog/reviews/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-songs-for-mixed-company-2017/

The Kalamazoo based duo Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is a project revolving around the talents of singer/songwriters Phil Barry and Sarah Furest are following up their self-titled debut EP with their first full length effort entitled Songs for Mixed Company. There is an eclectic mix of musical elements fueling the ten song collection – Barry and Furest’s songwriting isn’t afraid to blend classical inclinations, clear folk music influences, indie rock, and even a dollop of Mellotron into a familiar, yet idiosyncratically unique, aural stew. Barry and Furest bring the clearest lessons gleaned from previous respective projects to bear on the songwriting and the results produce one of the best releases of 2017. Fine songwriting always goes a long way with any musical style, but there’s no replicating the merits of genuine chemistry. It is obvious, from the first song to last, that Barry and Furest are artists whose style neatly dovetails into one another and produces memorable work.

The thoughtfully melancholy opener “Let’s Be Friends” is built largely around acoustic guitar and the blend of Barry and Furest’s voices. It’s one of the more traditional folk-minded tracks on Songs for Mixed Company and touches on a familiar theme, interacting after a break up, with a distinctive poetic touch. Strong country music strains exert an influence over “Miss Me” and the nuanced songwriting veers from aching tenderness to understated recrimination. The slow build of the track has starkly undeniable beauty and the telling classic country tropes buried in the lyrics touch listeners without ever sounding false – instead, it suggests two songwriters recognizing the possibilities inherent in a vehicle like this to express their experiences and innermost thoughts. The discreet organ touches are particularly effective and give this track color it might otherwise lack. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot continue their penchant for crafting darkly hued musical narratives continues with “Can’t Be Trusted” and the song’s Mellotron embellishments artfully further that mood without ever sounding incongruous in this environment. The economy of the duo’s approach to songwriting and performance alike makes their songs condensed emotional experiences packed with surprising power.

Mike Lynch’s accordion playing is a key to the success of “Goodbye is Not the End”, but the duo varies their approach in interesting ways aiding this song with standing out from the pack. It has a jaunty strut and some inspired vocal turns interspersed around catchy changes. There’s a low key rock Americana rock strut powering the song “Year of the Monkey” and some rich organ lines further beefing up the sound. Mike Lynch proves, yet again, to be the critical third element making this album so successful as his contribution help further enhance some of the best material on Songs for Mixed Company. The aforementioned Americana rock vibe opens up further on the often rousing “Sweetest Baby” and it’s truly entertaining to hear how the duo capitalize on some of the tradition’s oldest tropes with individual flair and their focus as vocalists helps carry things to an even higher level. The finale “Dearly Beloved” may defy some listeners’ expectations as they forego a predictably elegiac ending in favor of a humorous yet immensely loving avowal of abiding love to a romantic partner. It does find the duo returning to a solidly folk sound for a final time and such a move ties up this durable and frequently breathtaking release up in fine fashion.

 

 

------------------------------------------

27. Music You Can Use

09/04/17

By: Daniel Boyer

URL: http://bluesyouuse.blogspot.com/2017/09/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-songs-for.html

Phil Barry and Sarah Fuerst, under the banner of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, has released a well-received self-titled debut EP and Songs for Mixed Company marks their first foray into full length album territory. The ten song collection is nominally labeled as folk, but such labels only tell some of the story. The duo also liberally indulge and experiment with other textures, primarily Americana rock, and their music makes frequent use of additional elements like organ and, even more improbably, Mellotron. Despite this occasional stretching of stylistic boundaries, however, the subject matter remains resolutely tethered to earth and falls well within the wheelhouse of the folk or singer/songwriter style. The two musical elements ranking most important on this release are, easily, the confluence of Barry and Fuerst’s voices working alongside Barry’s stellar guitar work, but organ player Mike Lynch certainly offers a lot along the way thanks to the measured and colorful touches he adds to the mix.

“Let’s Be Friends” introduces us to the duo’s first full length in superb fashion. Phil Barry’s acoustic guitar work doesn’t spark with a lot of pyrotechnic flash; instead, we clearly hear that his playing focus is resolutely locked on summoning up understated lyricism that complements the vocals and lyrical content. The guitar’s mood dovetails quite well into the lyrical subject matter. “Miss You” does a memorable job of revisiting some popular classic country music tropes without ever lapsing into imitation and these reference points make for a richer music experience. There’s a little steel guitar tossed in for good measure, but in the manner of writers and performers who understand a little goes a long way, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot never give us too much of a good thing. The Mellotron is used to great effect on the song “Can’t Be Trusted” and it thickens the melancholy mood of this character piece largely dominated by Barry’s vocals. Fuerst is never far away, however, and her second voice added to the mix gives the song an even more meditative air.

“Sad Song” brings a number of musical elements to bear. This is, arguably, the album’s most “arranged” number and the presence of keyboards and strings in the song gives it a quasi-orchestral feel missing from much of the album. “Year of the Monkey” has a stately mid-tempo pace punctuated by steady drumming and gently simmering organ lines in the background. Barry and Fuerst deliver another impressive co-vocal with Barry’s voice leading the way, but make no mistake – these tunes would be far less effective without Fuerst’s voice to balance out his own. Their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 hit “I’m on Fire” isn’t an entirely outside the box selection – many artists have turned their attentions to this tune – but Thunderbolt and Lightfoot own this underrated Springsteen classic in a way earlier covers do not. The understatement they bring to this song about desire is admirable and the song’s mood fits in perfectly with the other nine songs on this release. Songs for Mixed Company is a resounding success for this duo and further solidifies that they are one of the pre-eminent Americana/folk outfits working today.

 

------------------------------------------

26. The Modern Beat

09/04/17

By: Robert Elgin

URL: http://themodernbeat.blogspot.com/2017/09/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-songs-for.html

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, a folk project headed by the tandem of Phil Barry and Sarah Fuerst, have released their first full length studio platter Songs for Mixed Company and the results should strengthen their position as one of the most promising Americana themed acts to come along in quite some time. Both Barry and Fuerst are experienced musicians, songwriters, and have earned a lot of well deserved praise for earlier projects, but Thunderbolt and Lightfoot arguably provides them with their best forum yet to prove their prowess as top flight players, singers, and composers. The album’s ten songs show a surprising stylistic range – what surprises isn’t so much the fact that they dare attempt such stretching, but rather that they manage it so seamlessly. The inclusion of Mellotron, electric guitar, accordion, and strong drumming doesn’t upset the delicacy of their songwriting but, instead, further fleshes it out and elevates the overall quality several notches above the norm.

We begin with the basics however. It’s difficult to refer to “Let’s Be Friends” as basic, really, because the track plumbs deeply and honestly into the experience of one time lovers still trying to maintain a connection after separating. Barry and Fuerst treat the situation with all the sensitivity you might expect and the track is further distinguished by the plain-spoken poetry of the lyrics sparing no punches. “Miss Me” exhibits a similar level of artistry, albeit in a much different mode. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot do an excellent job doubling as weepy country crooners on this tune, but there’s little question their songwriting contains much more depth than the classic style they’re trying to mimic. There’s certainly a strong current of longing running through the lyrics and performance, but there’s undeniable melancholy filling this song as well. “Can’t Be Trusted” has a muted edge, but it’s definitely much darker in tone than the album’s first two songs. Barry’s guitar playing is rather remarkable for its combination of artistry and restraint. Buoyant accordion brightens an otherwise wistfully sad “Goodbye is Not the End”, but this is clearly a nuanced piece where sorrow does not have the final word. There’s a surprising amount of zest in the dual vocals with Barry’s voice seemingly leading the way.

“Year of the Monkey” doesn’t erupt with electric guitar at any point, but Thunderbolt and Lightfoot work up a head of steam with this song thanks to the straight ahead guitar work and assertive drumming. It’s one of the album’s best lyrical numbers as well. Songs for Mixed Company includes one instrumental buried late in the running order. “Vesper” is a successful composition and performance further highlighting the duo’s instrumental strengths and the absence of a vocalist will bother few. “Sweetest Baby” is one of the album’s most charismatic moments and sure to appeal far outside the Americana crowd, but the substantive musical weight common to their writing doesn’t desert them here and they continue aiming to write memorable tracks each time out. “Dearly Beloved” closes Songs for Mixed Company on an upbeat note with lyrics that range from the humorous to endearing and it makes for an excellent final curtain. Lovers of Americana and roots rock will find much to admire on Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’s new release.

 

------------------------------------------

25. Signatures in Time

09/04/17

By: Frank McClure

URL: http://sigintime.blogspot.com/2017/09/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-songs-for.html

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’s first full length studio release Songs for Mixed Company denotes a high water mark in the careers of its respective participants. Phil Barry and Sarah Fuerst are the core of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, but they are accompanied by some top notch players, namely multi-instrumentalist and organist Mike Lynch. Lynch’s contributions are key to this effort as his playing supplies an ample amount of color to songwriting that, otherwise, might seem relatively spartan and unadorned. The duo is classified as a folk act, but the classification is misleading. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot have extended themselves in surprising ways through the course of this collection – namely, the inclusion of electric guitar and Mellotron distinguishes these songs from the work of the duo’s peers and they manage this diversity without ever ceding any of the strengths that drew their self-titled debut EP such well deserved attention.

They start off, however, working from their most basic strengths. “Let’s Be Friends” is straight singer/songwriter material cast in a folk mold and benefits enormously from the on point marriage of their voices and Barry’s eloquent, tempered guitar work. The subject matter is relatively familiar, but Thunderbolt and Lightfoot imbue it with a distinctive poetic sensibility that never overreaches. They show some talent for inventive mimicry on the track “Miss Me”, a loving homage to a certain kind of country music that simply isn’t written and recorded much anymore. It stands, however, as an intensely personal statement thanks to how much their vocals invest in the performance and ends up sounding like something ripped from the pages of their respective lives. There are lyrical subtleties, as well, incorporated into the composition further distinguishing it from similar efforts and helping it stand on its own as an original work. “Sad Song” goes in another direction entirely as they largely abandon traditional folk sounds in favor of low-key orchestration complete with keyboard work and the presence of pleasing strings. Despite their scant previous work exhibiting no grounding for this sort of experimentation, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot prove quite adept at bringing other sounds into the mix.

Accordion and tempo choices give “Goodbye is Not the End” a surprising bounce that memorably contrasts with the relatively downcast attitude of the lyrics but, as the title implies, the song retains a flicker of hope that mitigates its otherwise darker emotions The vocals play it remarkably straight and hold back from over-dramatizing the lyric. “Vesper” is the album’s sole instrumental and much more than just filler – they conclusively prove themselves to be quite entertaining despite the absence of vocals and the melody carrying the track along will stick with listeners long after the album concludes. “Sweetest Baby” is another of those moments when Thunderbolt and Lightfoot frame difficult or thorny emotions in an appealing musical package thus making the adult subject matter more palatable to the audience. The album’s finale “Dearly Beloved” closes things with a refreshing amount of humor – Thunderbolt and Lightfoot could have went in a more serious route based on the preceding material, but they opt for a smiling love song instead and it hits a nice balance against the furrowed brow of the earlier songs. This release is a true success and should appeal to many regardless of genre. The duo traffics in real human emotions and situations while still presenting a compelling musical product.

 

------------------------------------------

24. Music of The World

09/02/17

By: Mike Yoder

URL: http://musoftheworld.blogspot.com/2017/09/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-songs-for.html

Phil Barry and Sarah Fuerst’s collaboration under the name Thunderbolt and Lightfoot marks a next natural step for these two respected figures on the Midwestern indie and folk scene. The confluence of their talents, first exhibited on their self-titled debut EP, takes the main stage here with a full length studio album and it certainly smacks of much more than regional desires. These are one of those rare working partnerships where one performer truly inspires and prods the other to heights they might not have reached on their own otherwise. Songs for Mixed Company is a ten song collection that certainly embraces its folk roots, but there are dashes of something truly different in many of the performances that set it apart from typical efforts in this style. There’s no question, however, that the album’s songwriting is suffused with the spirit of genuine poetry and that glows extends to many of the musical arrangements as well.

“Let’s Be Friends” definitely doesn’t communicate the promise of that. This is a subtle lyrical narrative where two now former lovers, each still reeling from their split, make uncomfortable promises they aren’t sure they can ever honor. Barry and Fuerst’s vocals don’t flawlessly connect and that’s a part of their appeal as it brings an added quality of emotion to the performance. They try on some of the trappings of classic country with the song “Miss Me”, but it’s another sly bit of songwriting as well. Beneath the song’s seemingly playful lyrics lurks a tremendous sea of longing and a little regret and the musical qualities of the piece help bring those moods into even sharper relief. We get more evidence of their songwriting talents with “Can’t Be Trusted”, nut their interpretative potential is clear too as Barry completely inhabits the less than reputable character at the heart of the song.

“Year of the Monkey” is one of the most solid cuts on Songs for Mixed Company and shows off how well the band brings an assortment of Americana sounds into their artistic vision and finds the right balance. There’s some raunchy lead guitar in the song’s second half and the overall bluesy influence casting a shadow over the song is impossible to ignore. The unassuming and easy going saunter struck by “Sweetest Baby” is one of the album’s more relaxed musical peaks, but the song asks more than it lets on and there’s a definite vein of melancholy running just below its surface. They choose an unlikely cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ode to desire, “I’m on Fire”, from his 1984 Born in the USA album. It isn’t the first time this song has been covered, far from it, but what doesn’t seem to initially be a good fit for the duo soon proves to be ideal for their purposes. “Dearly Beloved” leaves the album basking in a little sunlight without revisiting the depths it reaches on earlier songs and the humor in the writing is played very well by both singers, particularly Barry. It ends Songs for Mixed Company on the upswing rather than mired in its own misery/Amy fan of Americana and modern folk will consider this album essential.

SHARE

Labels

 

------------------------------------------

23. Groping Towards Grace

09/01/17

By: William Elgin

URL: http://gropingtowardsgrace.blogspot.com/2017/09/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-songs-for.html

Few Americana themed acts working today can lay claim to the prowess and power at Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’s disposal. Vocalist and guitarist Phil Barry’s collaboration with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Fuerst is certainly a marriage of equals – they are a stunning vocal match on each of Songs for Mixed Company’s ten tracks and the songwriting excellence stamped on this collection is certainly their joint responsibility. The performances are augmented with a small cast of supporting musicians who aid the duo in further fleshing out their artistic vision and their contributions are important factors in the album’s ultimate success, but the center of the achievement on this release is the glittering and often surprisingly diverse artistry the duo brings to bear on their compositions. These are deceptively simple compositions, but close listening reveals these are deeply observed songs with a wealth of detail and flashes of stunning poetry. Songs for Mixed Company establishes Thunderbolt and Lightfoot as a monumental force in the Americana/folk music community.

“Let’s Be Friends” might have a conciliatory title, but the song is clearly cast on a downbeat note about the fracturing of an intense relationship into something much more tenuous. The delicate acoustic guitar work ably supports Barry and Fuerst’s vocals without ever competing with them and the plain spoken poetry infusing the work makes it a memorable opener. The intimate qualities of the recording are equally powerful and further accentuate the mood. “Miss Me” is definitely one of the highlights on the release and recalls classic country balladry without ever succumbing to its excesses. The steel guitar touching the song at various points brings just enough color without ever risking cliché and the percussion, when it enters the song, punctuates the song in a tasteful and authoritative way. The darkness edging in on the opener “Let’s Be Friends” is in full flower on the song “Can’t Be Trusted” and the yearning coming through in the lyric doesn’t sound like love and lust full of light, but shadows instead. Mike Lynch’s ghostly organ touches further contributes to the haunted feeling.

There’s a waltz feel to “Sad Song” and the patient development of the song thanks to Barry and Fuerst results in clipped lines and a minimal musical arrangement that is suggestive without ever overshadowing the singers. The drumming, once again, provides some first class work and gives the song great shape. One can even detect an incongruous playfulness in the song that defies expectation. The retro old-tymey tenor of “Goodbye is Not the End” has much more of the inklings of playfulness we heard in the previous song, but it doesn’t necessarily mean Thunderbolt and Lightfoot are playing this for laughs. The musicianship remains at the same high level as before. “Vesper” sounds ripped from the folk music tradition, but there’s an understated and unabashed modern edge blurring its edges. It’s an instrumental, but quite evocative and never just some sort of placeholder or filler. Songs for Mixed Company rarely roars, but the whispers compromising their songwriting makes a deeper impact than one might suspect.

 

------------------------------------------

22. Burned Out Borders

By: Larry Robertson

09/01/17

URL: http://burnoutborders.blogspot.com/2017/09/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-songs-for.html

The first full length album from Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Songs from Mixed Company, is the apex of achievement thus far for the singing and songwriting tandem of Phil Barry and Sarah Fuerst. Both musical artists have long pedigrees on the indie scene and bring their combined experiences together in a way certain to leave more than a few mouths agape. The album’s ten tracks make it very clear that the duo’s grounding in folk and other Americana music tradition remains the foundation of everything they do, but the collection seldom stops there. It ventures relatively far afield with Mellotron touches and often seems just as content pushing nuanced heartland rock as it does carefully exploring material on the backs of the acoustic guitar alone. Other instruments like strings, organ, and accordion make appearances on this release and organist Mike Lynch, in particular, emerges from these songs as a key for the duo to fully realize their ambitions.

Things begin on a hushed note with the track “Let’s Be Friends”. The duo clearly aren’t attempting to refashion the songwriting wheel, but their take on their relatively familiar subject, the breakup of a long term connection and ensuing aftermath, finds them sifting through the rubble with a level of sensitivity and discernment uncommon to even the finest genre performers. “Miss Me” is the album’s clearest dive into classic country waters and the duo deliver with a stylish tearjerker that, while manipulating the listener’s emotions, never rings false. The song really begins moving during its second half and this particular configuration plays with such sympathetic tightness that they come off sounding like a band who’s been playing with one another for years. Phil Barry takes over the bulk of vocal duties on the song “Can’t Be Trusted” and makes deadly serious a lyric that might have been a real eye roll in lesser hands. The shadows cast from the guitar playing lend the lyrics a certain poetic gravitas they might have otherwise lacked, but Barry’s vocal here is pitch perfect and inviting despite the subject matter.

“Goodbye is Not the End” might possess a more playful aura than many of the earlier songs, but there’s much of the same sense of loss pervading its lyric that we hear in the album’s more nominally “serious” tracks. “Vesper” is a beautiful instrumental, unexpected from this duo and particularly so deep into the album, but it sets up a nice contrast with the next song “Sweetest Baby”. The musical mood lightens and we’re treated to the juxtaposition between buoyant music and unhappy lyrical content that helped earlier songs stand out. The penultimate song, “I’m on Fire”, brings us an unlikely cover from Bruce Springsteen’s eighties period and the duo wisely makes no attempt to ape the Boss. Instead, they lower the volume while retaining the same thread of lust tying both versions again.  Songs for Mixed Company is, for devotees of the genre, the sort of release you’ve been waiting for guided by artists capable of speak from their own and to our personal pain within.

 

------------------------------------------

21. Hipsters, Hippies, and Dreamers

09/01/17

By: Montey Wright

URL: http://hiphipdream.blogspot.com/2017/09/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-songs-for.html

It isn’t enough to cop a pose and hope it sticks. It won’t. Devotees of Americana music will eventually hear through the pretense and peg you for the dilettante you are. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, the moniker singers/songwriters/musicians Phil Barry and Sarah Fuerst adopted for their collaboration, are as real as it gets, there’s no posing here. Their self-titled first release garnered praise from every quarter as a special creative bond exists between Barry and Fuest anyone can hear if they bother listening. Their complete command of the necessary musical lexicon never strikes a false note and, instead, incorporates atypical sounds into the duo’s traditional approach. Mellotron and a generous amount of organ fill the song with colors quite uncommon to the style and the added atmospherics they bring to the table enhance, rather than detract, from the musical enterprise.

The moments of overall understatement on the album are memorable for a number of reasons. “Let’s Be Friends” has a low-key heartbroken glow surrounding every vocal and instrumental line, but the mood generated by those two components working together so well is what the track ultimately relies on for its success. Barry and Fuerst rarely sing in outright lockstep and we, as listeners, are better for the fact/ The less than seamless mesh of their singing sounds like there is some point-counterpoint between their voiced while they show off plenty of range to fill the song’s emotional vistas. “Miss Me” sounds someone’s studied their classic 60’s-70’s country and nail the style. There are stinging steel guitar licks rising out of the mix and bringing some welcome vibrancy to what might otherwise sound like a paint by numbers number. “Can’t Be Trusted” is definitely one of the album’s best writing shots as Phil Barry seems to totally relish an opportunity for embodying a much darker character than we’ve thus far encountered during the album.

“Year of the Monkey” is another extraordinarily sturdy track in the Americana vein that doesn’t fail to bulge at those boundaries a little without ever transforming into something else entirely. It’s one of the album’s strongest lyrical numbers and, for anyone paying attention, it must become increasingly clear that the words are, perhaps, an underrated aspect of their presentation. “Sweetest Baby” is another of the album’s more entertaining moments thanks to its liberal use of traditional tropes and the sheer charisma of their joint delivery. It ambles with a good natured gait for the entirety of the song and marks one of the more unabashedly likeable songs on the album. There is a discernible undercurrent, even here, but the beauty of this track is how it can be enjoyed in more than a few ways. They will definitely turn some heads with a delicately wrought take on Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 classic “I’m on Fire”. The song has been covered before, but Thunderbolt and Lightfoot bring a simmering delicacy to their performance that distinguishes them from the pack. “Dearly Beloved”, much like the earlier “Sweetest Baby”, sports a real undercurrent, it nevertheless tosses some humor into a mix that can easily slip into heavy handed despair. Its affectionate disposition is a welcome ending for Songs for Mixed Company and constitutes a backwards wave as they are surely moving on to future live shows and even better albums to come.

 

------------------------------------------

20. Unchained Music

09/01/17

By: David Shouse

URL: http://unchainedmusicblog.blogspot.com/2017/09/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-songs-for.html

Minnesota produces another winner with the collaboration between singer/songwriters Phil Barry and Sarah Fuersst dubbed Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Their self-titled EP heralded the arrival of a duo with great chemistry and the good sense to involve the right collaborators, but their first full length album Songs for Mixed Company realizes that promise and much, much more. The album’s ten songs plumb deep into the Americana tradition of folk, country, and even a smattering of blues, but the duo reaches beyond the boundaries of those forms by incorporating instruments like organ and even Mellotron to accentuate their musical vision. These two experienced hands, despite naming their project after an irreverent 1970’s cinema classic, are anything but tongue in cheek. The songwriting deals with eternal human emotions – fear, loss, yearning, and love all make an appearance here and they make these emotions matter in narratives reaching deep into human experience.

They begin things on a darker note with the track “Let’s Br Friends”. On the surface of it, the songwriting seems to be covering familiar territory, but the songwriting talents Barry and Fuerst bring to bear explore facets of experience going beyond the typical cursory treatment common to these kind of songs. There’s beautifully simple poetry laced through these lyrics and Barry’s voice seamlessly comes together with Fuerst in an aching vocal marriage. The retro country music beauty of “Miss Me” has an elegance that few, if any, working in the genre today even dare aspire to and it never sounds like a pose. The scattered steel guitar licks color in the spaces between acoustic guitar chords and the drumming underlines everything with a strong foundation. Barry and Fuerst conjure up that “weepy” quality distinguishing many classic country cuts without ever sounding forced or overwrought. The character piece “Can’t Be Trusted” paints the darkest musical picture yet on Songs for Mixed  Company, but it is handled with such dramatic deftness that it draws listeners in and never drags them down.. The crystalline guitar lines and sensitive vocal treatment cut against the sharply observed character delineation present in the lyrics. Barry sings this song without a hint of irony and it will have a chilling effect on many who hear it.

The steady stomp and match of “Year of the Monkey” seems a little bit simple, but Thunderbolt and Lightfoot show the keen ear for adding tempered crescendos and Mike Lynch’s artful turns on organ. It’s, arguably, one of the album’s strongest tunes lyrically, especially on the song’s chorus where the arrangement, text, and vocal performances come together in an undeniably powerful away. “Sweetest Baby” has a nice breezy air despite the struggle and longing running through its lyric – it’s that effortless lift summoned by the drumming and Mike Lynch’s whispery organ flourishes refuse to let the song’s melancholy take over entirely. There’s a light blues influence meeting the folk on the last song “Dearly Beloved”, but there’s also some endearing humor propping up the lyric rather than keeping a stone face throughout. It’s an appropriately playful ending to an album that’s usually anything but, but Songs for Mixed Company definitely proves this duo has real creative legs and is building something that may last for years to come.  

 

------------------------------------------

19. Growing Old With Rock and Roll

08/30/17

By: Craig Bowles

URL: http://grorr.blogspot.com/2017/08/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-songs-for.html

We should always cherish albums like this. Albums like Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’s Songs for Mixed Company just aren’t that common anymore. Listening to the ten songs on this release reminds anyone with ears that there are still singer/songwriters slaving away at their craft for little money and exercising great care to make sure the songs they share with the world are honed to a fine edge. The songs have an obvious origin in folk music, but Barry, Fuerst, and their collaborators have carried that a step further by incorporating a light roots rock sound as well as utilizing much more unusual instrumentation like the Mellotron in order to further color their pieces. The lyrics are, uniformly, top notch. The songs never strain for effect and retain a natural poeticism that sets them apart from contemporaries who too frequently try just as hard with obviously overworked results.

“Let’s Be Friends” begins the album on a pensive, dark note. Lurking at the back of this song throughout its entirety is the bitter reality that these two one time lovers really have very little interest in being friends, but they feel hidebound to attempt something their hearts really do not support. This emotional position is reflected in the music as well; Barry’s acoustic guitar manifests the same pensive mood with its shadowy lyricism and the duo’s vocals pay proper tribute to the seriousness of the situation while still showing artful restraint. “Miss Mie” is another instance of the duo’s restraint informing and enriching their performance. This is an exquisite nod to the duo’s love for classic country music, circa the 1950’s or Sixties, and they pull it off flawlessly. The lyrics even revisit some familiar genre tropes, like the narrator who’s crying in his beer, and the music invokes a similar mood. “Can’t Be Trusted” is another meditative piece with focused, condensed guitar playing and an appropriately intense vocal from Barry and Fuerst alike.

“Goodbye is Not the End” brings accordion into the mix and it fits in quite well with Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’s typical instrumental blend. It gives the song an improbably jaunty bounce, somewhat incongruous when compared to earlier and later songs, but it makes for a nice shift in atmosphere. “Year of the Monkey” is another outstanding track especially for its ability to keep relatively straight forward guitar and a basic tempo interesting and some of the best lyrical content on the release. “Sweetest Baby” is the last “key” number on the album and its good natured grace, relaxed tempo, and immensely likeable vocals from Barry and Fuerst give the piece its distinctive flavor. They cover Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” to superb effect  and sans the heavy-handed theatrics of the original while the finale, “Dearly Beloved”, strikes a welcome note of humor on an otherwise serious set of songs. It’s good and wise that Thunderbolt and Lightfoot end on this note; it’s little twists like this and others mentioned before that make the duo special.

 

------------------------------------------

18. Lonesome Highway

09/05/17

By: Paul McGee

URL: http://lonesomehighway.com/music-reviews/2017/9/5/reviews-by-paul-mcgee.html

Thunderbolt & Lightfoot Songs For Mixed Company Vesper

Sarah Fuerst and Phil Barry are the duo behind the ten songs on this full album debut. Phil plays guitar and Sarah adds a combination of keys, mellotron, whistle, marimba and bass. Both share close vocal harmonies that really impress within the gentle acoustic structures of the melodies and stripped back arrangements.

Recorded at a studio in Kalamazoo, these songs of love and loss are quietly addictive on repeated play and the guest musicians add subtle touches on accordion, strings, organ, piano and drums. The playful nature of Can’t Be Trusted runs against the pleasure of watching a past lover rueing a break-up on Miss Me. Sad Song cautions the person to ‘take care, choices have consequences’. The light jazz feel of Goodbye Is Not The End sits against the acoustic strum of instrumental, Vesper.

A cover of the Bruce Springsteen song I’m On Fire is a strange inclusion and is just too clean; missing all the coiled desire of the original. The naïve optimism of Sweetest Baby is grounded by the clever Dearly Beloved which looks at the realism of relationships in lines like ‘I promise to always leave the seat down and no backseat driving on the way into town’. An interesting collection of songs and worth investigation.

Thank you!

 

------------------------------------------

17. Vents Magazine (CD Review)

07/28/17

By: RJ Frometa

URL: http://ventsmagazine.com/2017/07/26/cd-review-songs-mixed-company-thunderbolt-lightfoot/

One of the greatest elements from old school music has to be the way how many of these great artists and bands find the way to blend all their voices together and create this pitch-perfect harmonies. There’s something almost thrilling, haunting and incredible about similar or different voices singing in unison. This becomes more exciting in some particular styles, like in our next case, Folk. Its kinda like the genre demands this to be done at least once on a record. That way you can look for any old Country or Roots album and you will notice there’s at least a duo in pretty much every record.

Songs for Mixed Company brings back those glorious days, the stripped down acoustic music driven songs feels very intimate. The way Sarah Fuerst and Phil Barry blends in songs like “Let’s Be Friends” it feels so iconic. There are some great layers of Fleetwood Mac, Johnny /June Cash and Damien Rice.

“Miss Me” adds more instruments that gives more power to the music that accompanies these two great artists. In the following songs the band adds other layers and elements that keeps every song fresh and interesting.

However, personally I found their more stripped down and simple songs rather exciting, those were they rely more on their vocals rather than the music, because by the time you finish listening to entire album, you will have to agree with me when I say there’s where the power, the amazing talent of the band lies – though as everything in life there are some exceptions, “Sad Song” and “Year of the Monkey” being the major ones.

There’s literally nothing wrong with this album. Like mentioned before, with every song Thunderbolt & Lightfoot just seems to evolve. The way they build this harmonies doesn’t cease to baffle me. For those who have an open mind for music and aren’t very niche out, would find many reasons to love this group.

Total Score - 100%

Overall, Songs For Mixed Company is hands down, one of the greatest records to be released not only this year, but in a very long time. Please go and follow and listen to this band, they are one of the greatest and most rewarding hidden secrets in music right now. If you miss the days when music had a meaning and it didn't felt so computerized as in present, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot are those "messiahs" you were desperately looking for.

 

------------------------------------------

16. The Alternate Root

URL: http://thealternateroot.com/rack-5/7100-tandl-mc

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (from the album Songs for Mixed Company)

There is a stillness to the music of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Whispered vocals painted with fine-haired brushes on teacups, structured like Japanese gardens with elegance in their simplicity. Songs for Mixed Company, the latest release from the Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Folk duo scratches a rhythm into the hushed acoustics of “Vesper” while “Can’t Be Trusted” confesses how it falls for a smile, love makes promises in “Let’s Be Friends”, and harmonies celebrate a union with the vows of “Dearly Beloved”. Sarah Fuerst and Phil Barry have a history in band projects, combining their experiences in music and voices as Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. The pair quietly watch the flames rise from the confessions of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire”, and view the politics of war in “Year of the Monkey” as Songs for Mixed Company plays a waltz for fickle hearts in “Sad Song”.

 

------------------------------------------

15. StereoStickman (Single Review)

07/27/17

By: Rebecca Cullen

URL: http://stereostickman.com/reviews/thunderbolt-lightfoot-lets-be-friends/

The simplistic beauty of effective, heartfelt songwriting is the very heart of this recent release from Michigan based Thunderbolt & Lightfoot. As you listen, there’s only the purity of the acoustic guitar picking, and the sensational pairing of the two artist’s voices, presenting what is a gorgeously structured and incredibly thoughtful piece of songwriting.

The song is three minutes and eighteen seconds long, a fairly standard length for radio worthy music, however, it’s the sort that feels as if it could go on and on – weaving around you as this melody rolls up and down, surrounding you with both space and subtle comfort. The intimacy of it is captivating, something about it feels deeply personal, almost as if you’re witnessing a private conversation or form of expression. It’s impossible not to listen, and at the same time as seeming genuinely emotional and honest, the song is hugely accessible to pretty much all audiences. The concept is one that many can relate to, the end of something can seem far too daunting, and so to compromise is a last breath of hope.

The way the lines of this song have been structured makes for an incredibly poignant array of poetry. Again, that space surrounding the ideas leaves plenty of room for listeners to settle into, to feel involved or affected by the music, to reflect and relate it to their own journey. The melody unfolds beautifully, and as stated, it’s the sort that could go on for much longer, continuing to woo you as you ponder the world and your choices within it. Thunderbolt & Lightfoot are a talented and compelling songwriting duo who offer a stunning set of vocal harmonies and a some immensely real, very human ideas.

 

------------------------------------------

14. My Funk (Single Review)

07/27/17

URL: http://myfunk.ning.com/profiles/blogs/duo-thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-release-new-single-let-s-be-friends

Folk group and singer/songwriters Thunderbolt and Lightfoot have just released a new single titled "Let's Be Friends," and it is a great piece.  Though it sounds like a "friendly" title, Let's Be Friends isn't about sunshine, rainbows and play dates.  It actually holds a sad tone as TB and LF tackle a topic many men and women alike have experienced.  

Sometimes through the love and joy of relationships, there is anger and sadness. Even an inner depression.  Sometimes these feelings lead to arguments. And often as the problem grows, the fight to make it work becomes nothing much more than a fight.

Through this growth experience, often one chooses it's better to break off all ties and move on.....enter Thubderbolt and Lightfoot's single to the soundtrack of the situation. We hear them cover the depressing and soul crushing emotion of a side of the relationship that doesn;t want it to end, but love the other so will let them go.....but they still say..."Let's Be Friends."

The pain and emotion captured in every part of this song from the musical composition to the words make this a beautiful classic for folk listeners and more.. Check out the single today available for free streaming on Soundcloud, and follow Thunderbolt and Lightfoot for more music releases and updates.

 

------------------------------------------

13. SuperStarCentral (single review)

07/27/17

URL: https://superstarcentral.ning.com/profiles/blogs/duo-thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-release-new-single-let-s-be-friends

Folk group and singer/songwriters Thunderbolt and Lightfoot have just released a new single titled "Let's Be Friends," and it is a great piece.  Though it sounds like a "friendly" title, Let's Be Friends isn't about sunshine, rainbows and play dates.  It actually holds a sad tone as TB and LF tackle a topic many men and women alike have experienced.  

Sometimes through the love and joy of relationships, there is anger and sadness. Even an inner depression.  Sometimes these feelings lead to arguments. And often as the problem grows, the fight to make it work becomes nothing much more than a fight.

Through this growth experience, often one chooses it's better to break off all ties and move on.....enter Thubderbolt and Lightfoot's single to the soundtrack of the situation. We hear them cover the depressing and soul crushing emotion of a side of the relationship that doesn;t want it to end, but love the other so will let them go.....but they still say..."Let's Be Friends."

The pain and emotion captured in every part of this song from the musical composition to the words make this a beautiful classic for folk listeners and more.. Check out the single today available for free streaming on Soundcloud, and follow Thunderbolt and Lightfoot for more music releases and updates.

 

------------------------------------------

12. Dancing About Architecture (Single Review)

07/25/17

By: Dave Franklin

URL: https://dancingaboutarchitecture.info/2017/07/25/lets-be-friends-thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-reviewed-by-dave-franklin/

Striping music back to its very essence is something that sounds easy but is rarely done well. The Civil Wars did it, though they never sounded like they were having a lot of fun doing so, The Black Feathers and Flagship Romance excel at it and now I can add this Michigan duo to the list. The art isn’t just knowing what to strip out of a song, it is what you do with what is left, how to build structure and more importantly emotion with the hushed tones and gently chiming guitar lines that remain.

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (incidentally one of my favourite films) seem to naturally understand that the power of the sculpture you build with these minimal materials is as much about the spaces as what surrounds them. It is about the anticipation between the lyrics, the atmospheres that hang between the notes, it is about using your music to draw the lines and let the imagination of the listener and the near silent of the universe colour between them. Sounds simple huh?

 

------------------------------------------

11. The Ratings Game (Single Review)

07/26/17

By: Ezzzra

URL: https://ratingsgamemusic.com/2017/07/26/thunderbolt-lightfoot-lets-be-friends-review-stream/

If acoustic guitars, harmonicas, and balmy melodies are your thing, then you really don’t want to miss out on discovering Thunderbolt & Lightfoot.

If you don’t know Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, they are a folk duo from Kalamazoo, Michigan that consists of two independently talented musicians who merged their skills together to create some beautiful music. With Sarah Fuerst and Phil Barry both having made their mark in the music industry prior to forming Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, their indie sound is reminiscent of Elliot Smith but better because of the harmonization between the two. “Let’s Be Friends” is the first track listed on Thunderbolt & Lightfoot’s second album “Songs For Mixed Company“, and it is the perfect representation of what the duo does well.

The acoustic guitar in this song is delicate, and the lyrics are very touching. With the songs acoustic instrumental allowing us to hear the artists vocals with clarity, the duo took full advantage of the sound by providing us with beautiful words throughout.

The guitar solo at 2:10 really elevates the songs charm to me! Although it is not a long solo, it is absolutely breathtaking. Any band whose gentle tunes can help me take a moment in my day to relax and enjoy the world around me is a win in my book.

OVERALL RATING (5/5)

 

------------------------------------------

10. Beachsloth (Single Review)

07/24/17

URL: http://www.beachsloth.com/thunderbolt-lightfoot-lets-be-friends.html

Sung with a hushed reverence Thunderbolt & Lightfoot’s “Let’s be Friends” represents the best of folk music. Poetic lyrics float through over the course of the piece as the duo choose for a warm intimate sound. At times their crystal-clear vocals feel reminiscent of Fleet Foxes early, more chamber-pop inspired work. Melodically rich Thunderbolt & Lightfoot let small details gain great power as the sound unfurls with such tenderness. Guitar playing takes great care in keeping with the highly articulate delicate nature of the vocals.

Guitar introduces the piece with an understated majesty. From there the vocalist duo works in perfect unison stronger by working together. Everything feels perfectly amplified from their strong voices to the gentle narrative that gradually unfolds. Little guitar flourishes allow for the smallest gestures of kindness, which fits wonderfully with the kindness the duo asks for, the yearning that comes to define the track. Rather thoughtful the yearning reveals a desire to be wanted, cared for, and truly accepted. By opting for such a quite approach the sound simply lingers in the mind long after it is after. For the final stretch their voices take on a very slightly different tact into the piece. Small glimpses of other instruments adorn the sound for its grows in scope such as the sorrowful echo of the organ, until the final moment when it all gracefully slips away.

Thunderbolt & Lightfoot sculpt a spirited work with the gorgeous “Let’s be Friends”.

 

------------------------------------------

9. The Band Camp Diaries (Single Review)

By: Peter Vidani

URL: http://thebandcampdiaries.tumblr.com/post/163410698497/thunderbolt-lightfoot-lets-be-friends

Thunderbolt & Lightfoot - Let’s Be Friends

Thunderbolt & Lightfoot are a charismatic folk duo based in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The city has a great tradition of great rock and folk music, and this talented pair of musicians set out to remain true to the musical tradition of their hometown with a stunning blend of earnest folk vibes and psychedelic atmospheres, where song arrangements are on par with high-quality production aesthetics.

Their recent single, “Let’s Be Friends” is a great example of the pair’s ability to create relatable lyrics and catchy melodies while maintaining a credible and authentic feel.

The song’s production is classy, elegant and understated in its minimalistic vibes. These recordings truly highlight the talent of these musicians and offer an insightful look into their sound and vision for the band. The acoustic overtones and the harmonically rich sound are a big part of this song, which feels timeless and classic, yet modern and sophisticated in its simplicity.

The single is taken from the band’s recent studio effort, “Songs for Mixed Company”.

 

------------------------------------------

8. Skope Magazine (Single Review)

07/25/17

By: Victoria Patterson

URL: https://skopemag.com/2017/07/25/thunderbolt-lightfoot-lets-be-friends

Michigan locals Thunderbolt & Lightfoot have a new album out called Mixed Company, which includes the track, “Let’s Be Friends.” Staying true to their soft, melodic tunes, it is the exact kind of music one has come to expect from the duo. Phil Barry provides vocals and guitar and Sarah Fuerst does vocals. Both have an impressive list of works and associated acts, and their work together showcases their experience in a truly satisfying way.

“Let’s Be Friends” gives off definite Simon and Garfunkel vibes, with it’s entrancing sounds. Fuerst and Barry have a haunting melody that left me almost desperate to hear more, which was especially odd for someone who doesn’t usually like such soft songs. It starts off with the guitar before the two start singing, ready to mesmerize. Their vocals never outshine the other, and you can tell that Barry and Fuerst have plenty of experience with this, as their harmony doesn’t falter once. That adds to the charm. Individually, their voices are so lovely.

I especially adore Barry’s work on the guitar- it takes talent to make nothing but a guitar as accompanying music sound so great. It doesn’t take away from the vocals, but it isn’t forgotten by them, either. Balance is so important to make this song work, and they deliver.

It feels like Thunderbolt & Lightfoot have come from another decade, and yet there’s something current under the surface- I could picture hearing this song on a movie, maybe as an ironic choice after a character’s unthought of betrayal? The soft indie presence has been more noticeable in the past few years, marking a niche in the music world with it’s reminiscent but distinct sound, and this duo holds true to that. I can see myself listening to them a great deal more in the future.

The lyrics are sweet and so nicely serene, matching perfectly with the vocals and guitar. It left me feeling wistful and nostalgic, missing old friends and even the idea of people I never knew. It’s about, as you can imagine, friendship and the how this one in particular has stood the test of time. It’s beautiful in it’s certainty that the person they’re singing about would never stray. The gentle, peaceful reassurance is so lovely to hear. There’s an otherworldly quality that I can’t get enough of, which lead me to put “Let’s be Friends” on repeat.

If you like indie music and soft melodies that will leave you humming and feeling serene for the rest of the day, “Let’s Be Friends” is your song, and Thunderbolt & Lightfoot are the duo for you. I would recommend them to most people, even those who aren’t into that genre, if for nothing else than to show the excellence of Fuerst and Barry. They know what they’re doing and it is so impressive to listen to. I cannot wait to listen to the remainder of this album- I hope the rest of it has such wonderful qualities.

 

------------------------------------------

7. NataliezWorld (Single Review)

07/31/17

By: Natalie Perez

URL: http://www.nataliezworld.com/2017/07/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-lets-be.html

Duo or a trio acts is always impressive. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is a duo act but not just any duo but a folk duo."Let's Be Friends", is the track most recent by the duo. The only other track that has taken a similar name is "Just Be Friends" by a virtual pop vocaloid Luka Megurine from the company Crypton Future Media out of Japan.

While the two acts are completely different in genre, it is quite amusing to the titles of their tracks being similar if only slightly. In the case of Thunderbelt and Lightfoot's "Let's Be Friends", track though, it is a folk acoustic track that takes the reign of sounding decent enough. Folk music for anyone is a type of genre that can be accepted or rejected varying on the person listening in. For me listening in to folk on and off for a while, hearing it coming from this duo act was pleasant.

The track was smooth, soft, and comforting to the ears with its music gliding through. Whereas the vocalization coming from the duo themselves, had them singing in tune with one another, each taking part in singing their share of the lyrics, had them sounding crisp and clean as possible. All the lyrics of the song could be heard clear as a bell. Whilst the content of the track was right, detailing of a relationship gone wrong, having the situation settle off to being just friends for the sake of it.

Not so bad of lyrics, let alone meaning for a song to have, as a lot of acts from all genres, have songs revolving around love, romance, relationships, family or friends, if not other similar content altogether. In this case, this topic of choice for Thunderbelt and Lightfoot felt right and made the right moves with the music's melody choices.

The song was very uplifting, sounding more as a ballad type of acoustic folk track than anything else. It also appeared to be quite short when it was not the case for it. It just gives off that sense to it though, it sounds like you just heard it starting to hearing it ending right away. This not being a bad thing at all or a good thing more of a in the middle thing.

When it comes down it really, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is a duo of sorts that has taken the folk genre to another level of abilities for the act. Their material always sounding so much alike, this track tended to sway away from the usual source material, to sounding much more grounded and well rounded off.

It really plays off to being a type of track you could see be used in a comforting scene of a film or TV scenario. It has all of the making's to do such a thing. That is what Thunderbolt and Lightfoot does with their music, they give off emotions that can interject with your own life's problems and issues of emotion. You can express it all just within a track simply titled "Let's Be Friends".

 

------------------------------------------

6. MuzicNotez (Single Review)

07/28/17

By: Michael Clark

URL: http://www.muzicnotez.com/magazine/2017/07/thunderbolt-lightfoot-new-single-lets-be-friends/

Let’s Be Friends, from Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’s sophomore release, Songs for Mixed Company combines a melodious folk guitar style with resonant vocals in their new single. The enigmatic folk duo from Kalamazoo Michigan pours their collective hearts into the original songwriting of this sonorous ballad and it pays dividends as an instant classic.

It reminds you that the season is coming to a close, and you don’t quite know if that summer love is over yet or not. Autumn is almost here and you have to decide if it’s time for a change, but you want to make things last just a little while longer the way that they are before you move on. But no matter what comes to pass, let’s still be friends. Smooth as bourbon, sweet as honey.

 

------------------------------------------

5. Middle Tennessee Music (Single Review)

07/31/17

By: Joshua (J.Smo) Smotherman

URL: http://www.midtnmusic.com/thunderbolt-and-lightfoot-lets-be-friends/

Attention grabbing minimalism can be quite difficult to achieve in music but when you have a sweet sounding guitar and enchanting harmonies like the ones heard in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’s newest single Let’s Be Friends…well, I say simple can be much better.

Off their latest album, Songs For Mixed Company, Let’s Be Friends is a refreshing, acoustic driven folk song featuring the sweet, scintillating harmonies of Sarah Fuerst and Phil Barry who are Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.

Phil’s music has been featured on MTV, VH1, Oxygen and Showtime. He is the former touring guitarist for RCA backed talent Rachael Yamagata, currently a member of the Americana group Corn Fed Girls and was a founding member of award winning band Knee Deep Shag.

Sarah is also a member of Corn Fed Girls (upright bass and, of course, harmony), she has toured the Midwest and East Coast as part of Doxie, an indie rock band for whom she played bass.

This power duo is now delivering a potent, addictive sound in the form of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. You can learn more and hear more music on their official website or connect with them on FB.

 

------------------------------------------

4. Music Street Journal

07/28/17

By: Gary Hill

URL: http://www.musicstreetjournal.com/index_cdreviews_display.cfm?id=105910

This is the second album from this duo (Phil Barry and Sarah Fuerst) showcases a great modern folk style. There are part of this that call to mind Simon and Garfunkel to me. That's to a large degree because this act has harmonies to rival that classic duo. The music here covers a fairly wide range of territory from European cafe inspired sounds to folk rock and country.

Track by Track Review

Let’s be Friends

I love the vocal harmonies at the start of this cut. The music intricate and pretty.

Miss Me

A mellower cut, this is much more of a country number.

Can’t be Trusted

We're back into the intricate, mellower territory on this piece. It's along the lines of the opener. The harmonies on this song really shine, too. The funny thing is, there are even some hints of Pink Floyd in some of the over-layers on this cut.

Sad Song

This rises up gradually. It has more old school roots music in the mix. It is tied to European cafe music in some ways. It's a nice change of pace.

Goodbye Is Not the End

Speaking of that old school European cafe sound, this is set even more fully in that territory.

Year of the Monkey

This is another cut that brings a lot of variety. This is much more of a rocker than the rest of the set. In fact, this is more of a folk rocker with the emphasis on the rock side of the equation. The organ adds a lot to the mix.  I really dig the electric guitar solo on this piece.

Vesper

This is an intriguing folk music instrumental. It has some particularly intricate guitar work.

Sweetest Baby

Another that's more along the lines of folk rock, this doesn't rock quite as much as "Year of the Monkey" did. It's a bit more of a catchy mainstream piece.

I’m on Fire

Here they do a slow, folk music take on the Bruce Springsteen song. I like this quite a bit. It has some intriguing elements of Americana.

Dearly Beloved

This mellower, slow moving number is set very heavily in country music traditions.

 

------------------------------------------

3. Rootstime (Netherlands)

By: Valsam

URL: http://www.rootstime.be/index.html?http://www.rootstime.be/CD%20REVIEUW/2017/JULI1/CD95.html

"Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" is the stage name of an American folkduo from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Their real names are Sarah Fuerst and Phil Barry and debuted with a four-track EP tje 2015 that only their stage name was given the title. Before that they were both part over sixteen years of the Americana Group 'The Corn Fed Girls' and Phil Barry played a number of years also in the rock band "Knee Deep Shag" and also as guitarist in the backing group of singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata. Sarah Fuerst then had indeed been a past as bassist of the indie rock group "Doxie.

Now they have come up with the two of us with a first full-length studio album, "Songs For Mixed Company" hot. On it are nine original compositions they sing together in perfect vocal harmony, combined with one cover song that their intimate version of Bruce Springsteen's classic "I'm On Fire".

Phil Barry accompanies the duo on acoustic guitar and Sarah Fuerst plays bass, piano and percussion. This is all done while continuing to sing so beautifully together in clever songs such as "Let's Be Friends", first single "Miss Me" must listen song "Goodbye Is Not The End" in an acoustic live performance on attached video, "Dearly Beloved "and the wonderful" Sweetest Baby "that's our favorite song.

For some tracks were also guest musicians in the studio met with drummers Geoffrey Halsey and Jeff Moehle, alongside Michael Fuerst as a violinist, cellist, co-producer and brother of Sarah and organist, pianist and accordionist Mike Lynch. "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" are for me a veritable discovery in the world of better acoustic folk music. The so nice overflowing into each other and additional voices together are a delight to the ear. This duo we will definitely hear more in the future and we can only be happy until further notice.

 

------------------------------------------

2. Vents Magazine (Interview)

07/10/17

By: RJ Frometa

URL: http://ventsmagazine.com/2017/07/10/interview-thunderbolt-lightfoot/

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! We’ve been great, thanks.

Can you talk to us more about your song “Miss Me”?

‘Miss Me’ was our attempt at a classic country song, a la George Jones era. The song is about wanting to get back with your ex but realizing perhaps that’s not a great idea. We were aiming for a somewhat sparse arrangement and mix on the recording, while maintaining a nice groove underneath- kind of a smokey, dimly lit bar vibe.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Not really. I (Sarah) actually wrote part of the first verse while cleaning my bathroom. It was one of those times when the melody and lyric just kind of came to me. Those first few lines were enough to spur a story to explore. The verses came pretty quickly but I did get stumped on the chorus. Luckily Phil saved the day with a killer chorus.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

Not at this point. Gotta find that perfect smokey, dimly lit bar first…

The single comes off your new album Songs For Mixed Company – what’s the story behind the title?

The title was something we thought was funny, but also was a good intention to have out there while creating the album. We liked the idea of people putting it on at a cocktail party.

How was the recording and writing process?

We’re always writing, so we picked what we thought were our ten best songs and set up shop at La Luna Recording and Sound in Kalamazoo, with our good friend Ian Gorman. We also brought in Micheal Fuerst as co-producer, as well as some of our musician friends to flesh out a few of the arrangements. Basic tracks were recorded live, followed by overdubs depending on the needs of the song. The only track that we recorded live with vocals is the album closer “Dearly Beloved”.

What role does Kalamazoo play in your writing?

Kalamazoo is the original home of Gibson guitars, there’s something in the DNA of the town that compels people to create. You can’t swing a cat without hitting an amazing artist or musician.

How has Damien Rice and Fleetwood Mac have influence your music?

We have a soft spot for bleeding hearts… and guitars.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Every song is different, but it usually involves scribbling on napkins or on the back of a piece of mail when inspiration comes. It might come from a personal experience, current events, a conversation, or something a friend is going through. We try not to be too specific in the lyrics, allowing people to have their own interpretations.

Any plans to hit the road?

Nothing extensive, Michigan has an incredible music scene. While we would love to tour nationally as well as overseas, it doesn’t make sense for us at this point. Definitely something we are working towards.

What else is happening next in Thunderbolt & Lightfoot’s world?

We are always trying to think a few steps ahead as far as writing/recording and performing, but for now our main focus is promoting the new release. And researching smokey, dimly lit bars. Thanks VENTS!

 

------------------------------------------

1. Divide and Conquer

06/30/17

By: Matt Jensen

URL: http://www.divideandconquermusic.com/indie-music-album-reviews

Thunderbolt & Lightfoot are Sarah Fuerst and Phil Barry. The duo are long time musicians who have a good amount of experience playing in numerous musical outfits. Songs For Mixed Company is their second effort. The music is quite beautiful and minimal. At the center are the vocal harmonies which is at least accompanied by an acoustic guitar. There are other elements on certain songs which give just enough variety.  

The production is truly exceptional. Everything is crystal clear and there is so much space in the mix. They open up with “Let’s Be Friends” which keeps it very sparse. Guitar and vocals. That's really all you need when a song is this well written, performed and recorded.

“Miss Me” adds additional guitar, organs and drums. The song is another success from head to toe. I thought the  melodies were memorable and it has such a warm, comforting feel to it.

“Can’t Be Trusted” has some dark tones that felt reflective and serious while “Goodbye is not the End” felt like I was walking down a boardwalk on a sunny day without a care in the world. As the album continues the duo crushes it with exceptional songwriting.

They do a great job mixing up the palette of sounds but it's nothing too drastic. It's an important pro move a lot of artists don’t practice. The tones and shades of each song feel similar and connected but vary enough with each song to keep things interesting.

My favorite song may have been the closer “Dearly Beloved” which felt like a traditional song from the Appalachian mountains. Fuerst's vocals are a little more upfront on this track and it works out great. There is a soulful, human quality to the music that is undeniable.

I really don't have any complaints with this album. The album never drags, the melodies are easy to appreciate and the overall attention to detail and quality is top notch. Highly recommended.

------------------------------------------