But thanks in large part to the throwback vocal persona of co-founder and blues-harp ace Kim Wilson, the Fabulous Thunderbirds quickly distinguished themselves from their blues-rock brethren when they emerged upon the national scene in 1979. Over the following two decades, Wilson has delivered vintage fare with a confidence and authority that's more reflective of his blues forebears than of his contemporaries.
The T-Birds' ability to ground themselves equally in blues, R&B, and roots rock without diluting their identity, coupled with their high-energy delivery, has helped them do what few acts of their type have ever done: make an impact on the pop charts. Due out in a few weeks, the band's latest, Painted On, is packed with material that evokes every phase of the T-Birds' history, from those hit-record days in the '80s and their rock romps with Nick Lowe to their blues beginnings in Austin.
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