Thunder Creek

Published 11:52 am Saturday, July 31, 2010

FRANKLIN—Bluegrass band Thunder Creek started as a joke at church almost seven years ago. Since then, the group has sold thousands of CDs and performed across the Eastern United States.

The six-member Western Tidewater group recently released its fourth CD, “Say You Will.”

“This is our best album that we’ve ever come out with,” said bandleader David Joyner. “We’ve had a lot of people waiting. This album has been 19 months in production.”

Thunder Creek consists of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Joyner, vocalist and fiddler Jeffery Collins, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Delk Batten, vocalist and banjo player Troy Scarborough, mandolin player Aaron Canterberry and bassist Bill Richardson.

The group’s previous three CDs have sold in excess of 2,000 copies each. Joyner said their music has been played on radio stations around the world. The latest CD was even ranked No. 1 for radio download airplay on, a web-based artist marketing, promotion, education and advocacy platform.

“In all categories of music, it was the No. 1 album for radio download airplay globally,” Joyner said.

The album is also ranked No. 42 on the website’s all-time top 50 bluegrass albums chart.

“We’re right up there with the big names in the industry,” Joyner said.

The band receives “a lot of local support” from Western Tidewater, he said.

“Everywhere we go the locals are behind us,” Joyner said. “They are encouraging us to continue to move forward. Basically what the locals say is it ‘put us on the map. Go make a name for this community.’”

Joyner said Thunder Creek’s popularity is “crossing barriers,” and drawing people in who don’t consider themselves bluegrass fans.

“We not only play traditional bluegrass, but we play bluegrass gospel,” he said.

While country music has taken a “turn towards Southern rock,” he said bluegrass is staying true to its roots.

CDs can be purchased at local businesses for $15 or downloaded at online retailers like Rhapsody and iTunes. A list of businesses selling the CD is available on Thunder Creek’s website,

Drake Tire Co. in Franklin is one of the local businesses that carries the group’s CDs.

“The other CDs sold very good,” said Debbie Carr, who works at Drake Tire Co.

Joyner and the other members hope to continue building on the success of their music.

“We’re all just blue-collar workers trying to do this for fun on the side and really making a success out of it,” he said.