David Holt and the Lightning Bolts

Sing Out! Vol. 51 #1 Spring 2007
As David Holt relates it in the liner notes, the Lightning Bolts came together when he was asked to assemble a band for a country music festival in Switzerland four years ago. Though Holt is well known as an old time musician, the festival promoters were insistent that the band have a percussionist, a request that Holt describes a bit understatedly as “unusual” – drummers of any kind being generally about as welcome in old time music gatherings as they are in bluegrass jams. So, having brought aboard Laura Boosinger (guitar), Josh Goforth (fiddle) and his own son Zeb Holt (bass), percussionist David Cohen was added. The result was a band that plays “old time music with a new-time jolt” (or so says the back of the album).
On “Shaky Jake” and “I Can Do It Too” the “jolt” is almost literal, with guest Jack Pearson adding a touch of electric guitar, and a few tracks feature Chuck Cochran on piano. The songs include old standards like “The Titanic,” “Nobody’s Darling But Mine,” “Stagger Lee” and “The Train That Carried My Girl From Town” as well as tunes of more recent vintage like Allen Reynolds’ “Ready For The Times To Get Better” that just sound old, like they’ve been around a hundred years or more.
The musicianship is, of course, impeccable. The disc resonates with energy from start to finish, they’re clearly having a good time at it, and Boosinger’s singing is always a treat. Whether or not it’s what the Swiss think of as old time music isn’t really important enough to worry about. Just take it for what it is, a musical experiment that turned out pretty well. – JL