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TommyThunderfoot and the Accelerators: What They Say

THEY SAY: “Playing a unique blend of traditional blues with a modern sound and originals you’d swear you’ve heard somewhere before.”
WE SAY: Full band handling electric blues and boogie; originals and covers
Live review and photos by Gary Weeks

This is a live review of:

Tommy Thunderfoot and The Accelerators
Venue - Kickin Chicken
Location: Mount Pleasant, SC
Date: August 10th

While vacationing in Charleston, SC, I couldn't resist on checking out Tommy Thunderfoot and The Accelerators at the Kickin Chicken in Mount Pleasant, SC.

Usually I am accustomed to reporting on the blues club circuit in Atlanta, GA. But there was a special reason for doing this gig.

For the past couple of years or so, a 14 year old girl named Sarah Cole has been playing with Tommy Thunderfoot.

Despite being so young, Sarah has already been gathering a reputation for jamming with heavyweights such as Scott Holt, Guitar Shorty and Duane Burnside. When this kind of news filters out over the internet, then something like this has to be taken seriously.

And Sarah Cole is a serious player.

There is no doubt that Tommy Thunderfoot's band is a hotshot outfit. Relying more on original tunes with very few covers, their style of blues rock goes over well at venues like the Kickin Chicken. It's loose, honest, raw and meant for people who appreciate good music.

But there's no denying Ms. Cole is the special attraction.

Going by the nickname of "Stone Cold," Sarah is a young lady who lives up to that name. There are no facial expressions, hogging the spotlight and other hotdog tendencies. Utilizing a zen demeanor, her ethics are of working as a team player. She holds down the fort with solid rhythm playing, anchoring the band with power chords off her Fender Strat.

That's not to say her playing is limited to chords only. She can respond to Thunderfoot with some leads of her own that make first timers take notice that a prodigy might be on her way to getting on the cover of Blues Revue. And it could happen. Either before or after graduating high school.

The Hendrix tune "Voodoo Chile" has been covered a thousand times over in blues bars across the country. Ms. Cole adds her little baggage of hot licks that could qualify her as Jimi's love child.

Sarah's dad Todd is the proud father. I spent a great deal of time talking to him during and after the show. And from what he has been telling me, Sarah has been getting some offers of playing at blues fests in other parts of the South. And industry heavyweights check out these gigs in the hopes of finding new talent.

Playing with Tommy Thunderfoot is the best education Sarah could get. Youngsters need good mentors and Tommy has the patience and wisdom to encourage this young girl to shoot for the stars.

Keeping the blues alive is being left in the youngbloods of Eric Steckel, Eric Tessmer, Kenny Wayne Sheppard and other kids quickly rising through the ranks. Sarah seems to be looking to achieve quick development and always willing to listen and improve. She is endowed with maturity and skills of musicians twice her age. She is as quiet off stage as she is on.

Working with Tommy Thunderfoot is a good springboard. Whether she will form her own band in the future or just work with Tommy only is hard to say at this point.

If you are down in South Carolina and Tommy is playing nearby check him out. Sarah is probably back in school. But I am sure she will make those weekend gigs to further her education in the blues. She may be fourteen, but strikes me as a multi-talented girl who can handle just about anything.
Gary Weeks (Aug 19, 2007)
Tommy Thunderfoot and The Accelerators bridge the gap between early bluesmen of the 1900's and the 21st century sound of modern electric blues. Thunderfoot seems perfectly comfortable in both time periods, and every evolutionary blues step between. Performing classic blues and original songs that you feel you've heard before, you'll experience love, heartbreak, excitement, joy, sadness, and inspiration during the course of an evening. What you won't experience is disappointment. This is the blues, this is rock and roll, this is what good music is all about.
'Thunder' in the forecast

When Tommy Thunderfoot first heard Stevie Ray Vaughn, he admits, he had an initial lack of enthusiasm about what he was hearing. But after experiencing a few of those heart-wrenching moments of the blues himself, Thunderfoot became one of Vaughn's biggest, and perhaps most talented, admirers. Playing classic, soul-spewing, heartbreaking, foot-stomping blues, Thunderfoot has gone from a skeptic of Stevie Ray Vaughn to a dexterous torchbearer of blues, so ablaze with passion and conviction you may need to stand back from the stage during a Thunderfoot performance.
Tommy Thunderfoot & The Accelerators — Led by long-haired electric guitarist Tommy Thunderfoot, this local blues-rock trio plays with a riffy style in the vein of Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble.