The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Strong Like That

“I’ve always wanted my music to stand up to my heroes’ music,” reflects co-founder and harmonica great, Kim Wilson. On The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ new album Strong Like That (September, 2016), Wilson pairs his own compositions alongside his heroes: Clarence Coulter, Eddie Floyd, Eddie Holland and Cornelius Grant. The album balances the mournfulness of blues with all the joy of soul music.

Over thirty years ago, The Fabulous Thunderbirds were the first band to come out with a rock ‘n’ roll beat that was basically the blues. “You can’t really push the envelope unless you’re versed in the blues,” Wilson says. “I am what I am. I started playing harmonica with all the old guys when I was a kid, 18 or 19 years old.”

“Nobody enhances what I do like the band on this album,” says Wilson, who is joined by guitarist Johnny Moeller, bassist Steve Gomes, Kevin Anker on keyboards, with Wes Watkins and Robb Stupka on drums. “You want to be really good if you’ve been doing it as long as I have.”

Wilson counts Little Walter, George “Harmonica” Smith, and Lazy Lester as influences, but when he “heard that first record of James Cotton’s on Verve,” he realized he could play a lot of different music and legitimize it. By the time he was 18, he was playing with Albert Collins and Eddie Taylor. He moved to Minneapolis for about a year and a half before heading back down to Austin, Texas, to a vibrant music scene that was evolving energetically, and founded The Fabulous Thunderbirds. “Back then is when I really started playing with the old guys like Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters and I got to see up close how good they were and the high standards they set for themselves and their music.”

the fabulous thunderbirds strong like that

From the opening swampy piano runs, crispy funk lead riffs, earthy and raunchy harmonica runs, and Kim Wilson’s down-to-the-bone soul growls on the Motown classic ‘(I Know I’m) Losing You’ to the bright Stax-inflected guitars and horns of the Eddie Floyd classic ‘Never Found Me a Girl,’ The Fabulous Thunderbirds take flight on their new album, Strong Like That. The band balances the mournfulness of blues with all the joy of soul music, and the tunes here are often so bright that they drive us up out of our seats to the dance floor to groove to The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ smooth and soulful sound. Henry Carrigan, No Depression.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Strong Like That

Label: Megaforce / Severn Records
Release date: 16 September 2016

Bestel CD

01 – (I Know) I’m Losing You (Feat. Roosevelt Collier & Wes Watkins)
02 – Don’t Burn Me (Feat. Anson Funderburgh)
03 – You’re Gonna Miss Me
04 – Drowning On Dry Land
05 – Smooth
06 – Somebody’s Getting It
07 – Meet Me On The Corner
08 – Where’s Your Love Been
09 – I’ve Never Found A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)
10 – Strong Like That


Kim Wilson: Vocals and Harmonica
Johnny Moeller: Guitars
Kevin Anker: Keyboards
Steve Gomes: Bass
Robb Stupka: Drums


Anson Funderburgh – Lead Guitar (2)
Roosevelt Collier – Steel Guitar (1)
Wes Watkins – Drums (1)
Sara Mia – Background Vocals (1)
Christal Rheams and Caleb Green – Background Vocals (2, 6, 8, 9)

“The T-Birds have spread their wings, but are always straight and true. Soul music became a recurring style for them, and especially for Wilson. Strong Like That retains a blues edge but lights a major blaze under that soul meter mercury…. The songs

[Kim Wilson] wrote, and the unique covers here, make for one of the best T-Birds albums in some time.” – Tom Clarke, Elmore