Thunder Creek has been all ears

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

IVOR—Thunder Creek fans, the band has been listening.

The self-explanatory title of their latest bluegrass release, “By Request,” was a result of fans’ inquiries.

Available the week of Aug. 27, the CD touts 14 songs including old country, bluegrass and traditional tunes—performed the Thunder Creek way.

Among titles like, “Thunder Creek Express (Orange Blossom Special),” “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” and “Before The Next Teardrop Falls,” there is also a gospel song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and John Denver’s folk tune, “Back Home Again.” It will take listening to the release to find out why “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” is the last song on the CD.

“(These are) songs that people ask us to do all the time,” said David Joyner of Ivor, who plays guitar, and performs lead, baritone and bass vocals.

The rest of the band is Bobby Scarborough of Wakefield on bass; Troy Scarborough of Smithfield on banjo, and tenor and lead vocals; Delk Batten of Smithfield on guitar, lead and baritone vocals; Aaron Canterbury of Toano on mandolin; and Jeff Collins of Newport News on fiddle, lead, tenor and baritone vocals.

The third release for Thunder Creek, which formed in 2003, was once again recorded at Cham Laughlin Recording Studios in Disputanta, and Laughlin is a guest guitarist on “By Request.” David Joyner’s wife, Susan, handles all the photography, graphics and layout.

According to Joyner, the CD took seven months to produce, because “we were more picky this time,” he said, grinning.

To date, 3,400 copies of the first two CDs have sold.

The band has come a long way from the first two performances, which were at Mill Swamp Baptist Church in Smithfield and The Wakefield Foundation, respectively.

The band has been “adopted” by the Foundation, and Thunder Creek always saves a couple of slots for gigs at the organization’s fund-raisers.

“Our music is now on 42 radio stations in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.,” Joyner said. “We’ve just joined the International Bluegrass Music Association, and we already have about 20 tentative bookings just for county fairs for 2008.”

Serious about heading down the road to perform Thunder Creek bought a bus in October — a 45-footer that happened to be formerly owned by the Sawyer Brown band, a country music group named after the name of the road where they rehearsed.

“Sometimes we invite a few local fans to take trips with us on the bus so they don’t have to drive out of town,” said Joyner. “(The bus) is our home away from home while we’re traveling.”

Joyner doesn’t hesitate to give recognition to the source of their latest success, noting that God has been smiling on them for a while now. And of course, credit is due to other sources as well.

“If it wasn’t for our wives, we couldn’t exist,” said Joyner. “They are the backbone of this group.”

Thunder Creek not only recently opened for the Marshall Tucker Band at the Pork, Peanut and Pine Festival in Surry, they left there to make it the Todi Music Fest in Portsmouth in time to open for Tony Rice, known for his acoustic flat picking. The band also performed at the Franklin-Southampton County Fair.

More upcoming shows include Pinecrest Baptist Church in Portsmouth Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.; headlining at the historic Strasburg Theater in Strasburg, Va., Sept. 2, from 3 to 5 p.m.; The Wakefield Foundation Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.; and Hickory Ruritan Club in Chesapeake Sept. 22 at 9 p.m.

Plans are in the making for another gospel CD, a Christmas CD and a demo CD to be distributed nationwide.

For more show dates and information, log onto To check out Cham Laughlin Recording Studio, visit