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Thunder & Lightnin’ (and other noise from up the holler)


Thunder & Lightnin’ is made up of (from left) Steve Estes, Belita Mullinax, and Rob Gibbs. (Photo by Vyto Starinskas)

Thunder & Lightnin’ is made up of (from left) Steve Estes, Belita Mullinax, and Rob Gibbs. (Photo by Vyto Starinskas)


Originally Published: December 12, 2016 2:50 p.m.

Leaving behind one of the more popular bands in the inland Northwest, he never believed it would take long at all, much less decades to repeat.

Steve Estes founded the The Normal Fishin’ Tackle Band at a bent wood building formed in the shape of a fish.

They grew to become one of the more beloved acts in the region. Comprised of banjo, guitars, bass, elk ribs, mandolin, drums, and fiddle on occasion, vocals were up front, solid and blended in clean harmonies.

Many years passed with the dream of re-living that high energy, harmonies-focused, bluegrass driven show fading – that is until now. Enter Thunder & Lightnin’ (and other noise from up the holler).

Start with bona-fide mountain fiddler Belita Mullinax, a Prescott Valley resident originally from the hills of West Virginia. With a genuine mountain sound and a mountain of energy pouring into and out of her instrument, she talks and sings just like she fiddles, echoing pure Americana from up the holler.

On the night of their debut performance, the two of them received more than just a great reception. They stumbled upon a bona-fide pro in Rob Gibbs, an extraordinarily gifted banjoist, guitarist, harmonica guy, and singer-songwriter. Rob just happened to be in audience as a newly minted Corvillian from Maryland. A few days later and minutes into their first jam, he was on board.

Adding Estes’ 6 and 12-string guitars, Thunder & Lightnin’ delivers a dynamic, upbeat, harmony filled show infused with energy, joy and humor.

Note, this is not your Uncle Jeb’s bluegrass. One moment its “Duelin’ Banjos”, the next a sweet ballad, then a rocker like the Spencer Davis Group’s classic, “Give Me Some Lovin”.

Flat and Scruggs? Yes. Beatles or the Dead? Of course. Country, rock, punk, metal, folk, blues – little escapes Thunder & Lightnin’s playlist.

As a bonus, a number of originals are getting great reviews as well – like “Alive or Dead”, “Here to Stay”, “My Paradise is You”, and “Dimly Lit Cabin” among others.

One other thing setting Thunder & Lightnin’ apart is their audience appeal, which reaches practically every age group and musical taste. If you are looking for fun, this is your ticket.

Thunder & Lightnin’ appears alternating Thursdays, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the Grasshopper Grill in Cornville, 649-9211. The next shows are Dec. 15 and 29. Call ahead to make sure of the week and for reservations.