From time to time, Onus Records expands its horizons from its Sunnyslope confines to somewhere else where fine music is made. This week it has plunked us smack dab into bear country–Thunderbear Country, which geography and band bios tell us is located in Woodstock, NY.
Yes, that Woodstock. Their 5 song self-titled EP has Garth Hudson playing accordion on it. You don’t get much more Woodstock than that.
You can sample their unique blend of American roots music traditions, which they morph into their own acoustic/electric style in its entirety on their Bandcamp site. A standout track, “Almost Forever,” is being featured as an which Onus Records “Single of the Weekend.” Go on, click on the cover, and it can be yours to stream and download.
Group founder Bill “Thunderbear” Barrett was born in NYC. He grew up in Woodstock, NY, and received a BA in communications from Hunter College in Manhattan. He wrote, illustrated and published the novel Brown Water Café, his photographs of lightning were featured in calendars by BrownTrout Publishers, and his political cartoons have been featured in Earth Times and
He has been writing songs and playing gigs (including a time busking in London) since he was a teenager. In the late 1980s he became involved in the NYC music scene, playing with the legendary Joey Miserable and the Worms and in the acoustic band Les Ismore and his Excess Express which featured Jono Manson, John Popper and Joan Osborne. Now back in Woodstock, he writes songs, sings and plays guitar in THUNDERBEAR.
Now meet the rest of the band:
David Andersen studied at Berklee College of Music. He plays electric & acoustic bass and has performed with numerous local and regional acts. He is also an accomplished recording engineer, producer, and arranger, and in addition to playing bass, he also engineered the sessions for the THUNDERBEAR CD.
Originally from Northern California, pedal steel/guitarist Rob Stein has played with a wide variety of artists, from Broadway show orchestras to the Bob Dylan Band. He relocated to Ireland in 1999, where he became deeply involved in Irish traditional music, working with some of the best and most exciting musicians in Ireland. He was introduced to the Woodstock area playing guitar for the legendary John Herald back in the 1990s—and he’s now back in the USA, back in Woodstock, bringing his unique range of musical experiences to THUNDERBEAR.
As a composer Eric Parker has written the top forty hit “Crazy Keep on Fallin” and his song “I’m the One” was featured on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His song “Ramona,” as recorded by Grammy nominated jazz artist Cornell Dupree, was the theme for the 1997 Newport Jazz Festival. Eric has toured and recorded with Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, Lou Reed, Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Ian Hunter, Mick Taylor, Kingfish, Todd Rundgren, and Public Enemy, to name a few. He has also worked directly with Philip Glass on a number of projects. He brings his considerable talents as a drummer and composer to THUNDERBEAR.