Lightnin’ strikes the Snake for four consecutive nights |

Lightnin’ strikes the Snake for four consecutive nights

Special to the Daily

KEYSTONE – Lightnin’ Willie and the Poorboys’ annual stint at the Snake River Saloon kicks off tonight. Willie Hermes on guitar and vocals joins D.C. Olsen on bass, Tommy Gunn on drums, Ames Beals playing the harmonica and guitarist Billy Bourke for a four-night run, Thursday through Sunday in Keystone.Lightnin’ Willie and the Poorboys have been touring together for eleven years now and have four studio albums. They are working on their fifth, as well as a DVD of live shows in Europe.

Hermes said the band tours Europe every year and has about 30 upcoming scheduled dates in the U.K.This last summer, at the Maryport Blues Festival in Northern England, Lightnin’ Willie played with blues icon and great personal influence, Muddy Waters.”I grew up listening to Muddy Water. I used to see Muddy when he was first starting off and he would let you sit in with him, play with him. To be in Europe on the same stage as him was quite an honor. There you are, being treated as an equal,” Hermes said. “It was a great event in my life.”While touring in Europe, the band made a quick trip back to the States for Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic in Fort Worth, Texas.

“While we were playing, Willie came out,” Hermes said. “It was pretty good for him to come out and play with us.”Hermes said they played some of their stuff, then backed up Willie Nelson’s daughter Paula. The band then headed back to England for a few more months of shows.”With the festivals in England, there’s a main stage area, and then all through town pubs have fringe shows. People can walk from one club or pub to another. In Europe you can walk down the street with a beer, so everyone is sitting around the park with a beer,” Hermes said. He continued, remarking on the lack of aggression among the crowds, “It’s more sane over there.”

Lightnin’ Willie’s sound is rooted in blues but has evolved into something different than that, according to Hermes. He said they incorporate all kinds of American music from swing to country to rock ‘n’ roll.Hermes expects the band’s fifth studio album and also the DVD of European shows to be completed sometime in March.Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 13622 or

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