Back Out Tour

Don’t cry because it’s over,


Photo by Rebecca Swanger

That old saying might best describe the “Back Out Tour” of Matt Woods and The Thunderbolts, a series of house rockin’ shows by one of Iowa’s most authentic and hardest-working blues bands before it takes an indefinite hiatus at the end of 2012.

Though the “Back Out Tour” signifies the end of an eventful seven-year run for the Des Moines-based blues band that has played hundreds of one-nighters across Iowa, released three albums and seen its members win each category of the Iowa Blues Challenge (solo, duo, band), there is much to celebrate as the trio of singer- guitarist Matt Woods, bassist Scott Cochran and drummer MichaelSwanger regroups to perform a handful of shows following Swanger’s lengthy absence due to health reasons.

For starters, Woods won the Iowa Blues Challenge Solo/Duo contest on Aug. 26 and will represent Iowa at the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. He is the only Iowa blues musician to have won the contest in the solo, duo (Bad Luck City with Michael Swanger, 2006) and band (Matt Woods and The Thunderbolts with Matt Woods, Michael Swanger and Scott Cochran, 2007) categories of the contest. Woods’ 2006 solo album, in which he collaborated with Swanger and Cochran on a few tunes, finished in the Top 5 in the Blues Foundation’s “Best Self-Produced CD” international competition.

Also this week, the Central Iowa Blues Society announced that
Cochran will be inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame during a ceremony/fundraiser/concert event on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Downtown Marriott in Des Moines. Cochran is one of four performers to be inducted into the Iowa Hall of Fame that night and he will be joined onstage by Woods and Swanger to perform a set of his original material. A veteran musician with more than 40 years of playing experience under his belt, Cochran not only plays steady bass but has written such Thunderbolts tunes as “She Used To Be Your Woman,” “Blues Attack” and “Stone Fox.”

Fans of the band who revere down-home, juke house blues, will not want to miss the band’s final shows as they play original songs from their critically acclaimed independent albums (Woods’ 2006 solo effort “If I Was A Fish” and the group’s 2007 “Be My Friend” and 2010 self-titled albums) that drew rave reviews from national music magazines such as Living Blues, Blues Revue and Dirty Linen. The band will also perform select covers of tunes by their idols Son House, Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside, Howlin’ Wolf and Hound Dog Taylor.

Purveyors of traditional blues, their admiration for the blues
masters has gone beyond mere imitation as they created their own sound, songs and style. During their seven years together, the trio has graced the biggest blues stages in Iowa (Mississippi Valley Blues Fest, Living History Blues Fest, KUNI Blues Blowout, Simply the Blues Fest, Bowlful of Blues, Blues on Grand, The Maintenance Shop); played to 10,000 people at the Iowa State Fair’s Grandstand in 2010 while opening for Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon; and shared stages with blues legends like Hubert Sumlin, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins, Louisiana Red, Eddy Clearwater, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, John Primer, Delbert McClinton and the Arc Angels.

Enjoy their feel-good brand of house rockin’ blues while you can!