Fans of blues guitar virtuoso Jimmy Thackery have known for a while that he is one of the best and least appreciated blues-rock guitarists on the scene today. Although he’s been flying under his own flag for more than a decade now, he has yet to break through to that higher level of recognition he honestly deserves. Maybe it’s because he’s still trapped in that ever-present, ever-persistent shadow of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Then again, how would you explain the bright and shining stars of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang?
Could it be something called, oh, I dunno, age?
Thackery’s most recent release — he has six earlier Blind Pig recordings — is yet another example of how a master approaches the art form. Although anyone who has ever seen Thackery live can attest to his ability to break out the pyrotechnics whenever he feels like it, he also possesses the road-honed maturity to know precisely when too much is too much. In short, the man has great control and a tone that he could probably bottle and sell.
Rather than opting for blazing notes at every turn, Thackery pursues thoughtful phrasing. The result is a collection of tightly woven, dance-inducing songs that display his fondness for mixing the blues with simple, old-fashioned, basic rock ’n’ roll. It’s nothing too complicated, just the facts.
Keith A. Owens is a Detroit-based freelance writer and musician. E-mail him at [email protected].