Listening to the self-titled debut EP from The Georgia Thunderbolts is somewhat akin to popping on that old, favourite sweater after a hard day at work, or warming yourself with a piping hot bowl of soup on a cold day. In other words: comfort.
Hailing from Rome, Georgia, the young quintet, consisting of TJ Lyle (vocals, harp, piano), Riley Couzzourt (guitar), Logan Tolbert (guitar), Zach Everett (bass, keys), and Bristol Perry (drums), hang their wet duffle coats on the peg marked Southern Rock. Expect hints of Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, and more recent; Black Stone Cherry. If the Brits are feeling left out then sit back and listen to the seven-minute epic closing track ‘Set Me Free’ and soak up the influence of Paul Rodgers and Robert Plant, for TJ Lyle truly does possess an almighty set of pipes. While you are admiring the vocals, pay homage to the wonderful tones and emotive solos that Couzzourt and Tolbert coax out of their respective guitars. And with the rich keyboard sound, it’s seven-minutes well spent.
Before ‘Set Me Free’ brings this short debut to a memorable conclusion, there is much more to enjoy. ‘Looking For An Old Friend’ is a fantastic opening track and a fine introduction to, what is for many; a new band. With its strong Skynyrd vibes, it’s quite an ironic title, as many listening will feel that although they are listening to a new band, the bigger picture is one of familiarity. TJ Lyle will no doubt have come across comparisons with Ronnie Van Zandt before, and he will continue to be compared with the much-missed Skynyrd frontman. He has the same storyteller quality that Van Zandt brought to his vocal style, and the end result is rich and comforting (there’s that word again).
‘So You Wanna Change The World’ continues the EP with laid-back pacing and warm guitar tones. The kind of track where you could imagine the band really stretching out on whenever gigs return. The Black Stone Cherry vibes feature front and centre on ‘Lend a Hand, which comes complete with a foot-stomping, hand-clapping vibe, a chorus that scores high on the hooks stakes, and guitars set to stun. Really good fun. As is ‘Spirit Of a Workin’ Man’, which contains more Skynyrd-isms that you can shake a shitty stick at. Epic storytelling at its very best.
Songcraft is usually the first casualty in the pursuit of a sound perceived as “new”, with many bands so busy chasing down the supposed holy grail that they forget to pack songs for the journey. The Georgia Thunderbolts piss on the notion that bands need a new, modern sound to attract attention, with the end result being simply delightful. Debut EP? Discreetly double-checks PR notes; it would seem that yes, yes it is. Unbelievable.
Available now through Mascot Label Group, order here.
Connect with the band here.
Review – Dave