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All Aboard for David Holt and the Lightning Bolts

By Derek Halsey (

Article Published: May. 14 | Modified: May. 26
All Aboard for David Holt and the Lightning Bolts

Celebrated North Carolina musician David Holt will perform two shows at Tweetsie Railroad May 25.

Photo submitted

David Holt has been a part of the musical and cultural fabric of the state of North Carolina for many years.

A multi-instrumentalist, TV show host and musicologist, Holt may best be known as an artist who often performed with High Country icon Doc Watson during the last decade and a half of Watson’s hall of fame career.

On May 25, Holt and his band, the Lightning Bolts, will perform two shows at Tweetsie Railroad Wild West Theme Park. Show times are noon and 3 p.m. More information can be found at, (800) 526-5740 and

Holt has many irons in the fire when it comes to music, performing as a trio with Bryan Sutton and T. Michael Coleman, as a duo with Josh Goforth, as a solo act and with the Lightning Bolts. The members of the Lightning Bolts include Holt, Goforth, Laura Boosinger, Jeff Hersk and Byron Hedgepeth.

“I like to keep it interesting,” Holt said about his many music projects. “The Lightning Bolts started in 2002 when we were asked to play at the Gstaad Festival in Switzerland, the largest country music festival in Europe. So, I really wanted to put together a band of great North Carolina musicians who live right around here. Josh was 19 when he started, and he is 32 now. And we have Laura Boosinger, who was in the original band. My son, Zeb, was the bass player, but he is off living in New York now. We also have the best percussionist around here in Byron, and Jeff on bass. It is a band that has been together for a long time, and we love to play together. We really can’t take the band on the road that much, because Laura is the head of the arts council in Madison County, and Josh plays with another bluegrass band. But, when we play, we have a wonderful time. It’s almost like a family.”

With an array of multi-instrumentalists well-versed in many genres of music, the Lightning Bolts’ approach is a unique one.

“We’re taking traditional mountain music and calling it ‘Old-time music with a new-time jolt,’” Holt said. “Doc Watson was always my main mentor, even though I learned from a lot of people, and (like him) I like to take an older song and make it enjoyable to a modern audience. Josh is a fabulous musician, and I also bring all of my stuff to it. I bring in the steel guitar, the regular guitar and the finger-style guitar. I also play side instruments like the washboard, which I learned from the ‘oldest woman in the world,’ Susie Brunson (who was thought to be 123 years when she died in 1994).”

Throughout his career, Holt has always sought out older musicians like Watson and Brunson to learn from them before their knowledge is lost to the ages. The good news is that most of those encounters are documented. The bad side of it, however, is that many have left this world in recent years.

“All I can say is that I really feel blessed to have walked the Earth and worked with these folks at the same time they were alive,” Holt said. “They were giants, and they will be the giants of the music world. I feel very lucky because I knew Earl Scruggs personally, and I knew Doc Watson really well. I spent a lot of time with Roy Acuff, Grandpa Jones and people like that. I also met a lot of folks that aren’t well known, like Dellie Norton and other people, who were still great influences on me concerning older music. So, I feel super lucky to have lived then, because they are gone, and that era is gone now. There is nothing we can do. All we can do is move up next in line.”

For more information on David Holt, visit

Additional Images

Celebrated North Carolina musician David Holt will perform two shows at Tweetsie Railroad May 25.
Photo submitted

David Holt, center, and the Lighting Bolts, featuring Laura Boosinger, Josh Goforth, Jeff Hersk and Byron Hedgepath, will perform May 25 at Tweetsie Railroad.
Photo submitted

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