Fresh Biscuits! Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers – Wide Open CD Review

JimmyThackeryWideOpenCDJimmy Thackery & The Drivers
Wide Open
Jamthack (CD Baby)

Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers are back again, this time with a full CD of all original music. Work began on Wide Open in 2012 at Tony’s Treasures in Cadiz, OH but apparently the band wasn’t happy with the results and only two songs were held over from those sessions. As much as I’d love to hear what they kept in the vault, Wide Open clearly demonstrates the care the band puts into the music. Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers have delivered a stellar, boundless record that captures the spirit of cross country road trip into the big unknown.

The disc starts off with a drum roll and a clean toned guitar, settling into a laid back groove perfectly suited to Thackery’s conversational vocals. “Change Your Tune” is an exercise in restraint, from the tempo to the guitar tones and slowly bent notes of the guitar fills and solos. Jimmy Thackery shows off his mastery of the instrument without showing off and keeps you hanging on each note, especially in the outro solo. The mid tempo blues continue with “Minor Step” which finds the master of the Stratocaster playing a Gibson arch top. The instrumental piece has elements from the jazz greats like Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, 50’s rock tunes like “Sleepwalk”, and Latin blues in its rhythms.

While the first two tracks have you thinking this is going to be a mellow trip on I-80 west of Cheyenne with the top down and Big Sky over head, “Coffee And Chicken” finds the band getting greasy and low down, on a dusty road outside of town, on the trail of something resembling a fresh cup of Joe and the Colonel’s greatest achievement. Jimmy turns up the gain, gets gritty with the tones, and he affects a Howlin’ Wolf rasp as he professes his chicken affliction and caffeine addiction.

Thackery’s lyrics are his secret weapon. He sings about common subjects, but his wordplay provides twists and turns of phrase that might leave you shaking your head, smiling, cringing, and laughing; maybe all at the same time. “Coffee And Chicken” might have him praying to the Colonel for a yardbird and cup of mud, but “King Of Livin’ On My Own” further shows off his deft wordplay and storytelling. The song is performed Jug Band style, with a jaunty gait, and almost Vaudevillian lyrics about a man who’s not unhappy to be recently thrust into living on his own. With a sly smile, Thackery delivers lines like “I threw the dishes in the tub, instead of all that rub a dub dub, I sprayed ‘em down with a high pressure garden hose.” Who hasn’t wanted to that once in a while? The king of living alone does it whenever damn well pleases. Altogether it’s a lyrical and musical treat, with Jimmy Thackery playing some engaging acoustic guitar licks under his tale of bachelorhood supremacy.

Jimmy Thackery pulls out the acoustic guitar again in “Run Like The Wind” and in “Shame, Shame, Shame” where it is accented by weeping slide licks that return us to the laid back road trip feel of Wide Open after the sharp, rough and rockin’ “Hard Luck Man” which put us in the passing lane for 5:47 with the pedal to the metal power chords and combustible fretwork. “Keep My Heart From Breakin’” is another tough blues rocker and Thackery unleashes some his most caustic soloing on Wide Open, with whammy bar dives and bent notes flying fast and furious.

“You Brush Me Off” is another low key instrumental, full of nuance and nimble fingered mood making guitar licks. Jimmy Thackery is obviously known for his guitar playing and on Wide Open he displays less histrionics and more subtlety. He expertly sets the moods, makes all the notes count and gives them plenty of room to breathe in the Wide Open. It’s a side of his playing that can be overlooked when discussing his talents. Jimmy Thackery plays fast, he plays wild, he plays loud; but he plays for the song and this record seems to be all about giving the notes space. After a few listens, you’ll pick up on the impact this approach has on the music and it will hopefully enhance your own enjoyment.

The disc closes with a shimmering instrumental that reminds us the heat coming off the highway on the horizon and that our trip through the Wide Open continues into the distance. The track was inspired by and named for the new Thackery home, called “Pondok” by the builders/previous owners. The translation from the South African/Indonesian is “shack or house with a tin roof” and it seems the previous owner and the Thackerys alike realize it’s not the materials that make a home.

Wide Open explores landscapes, soundscapes, homes, tones, and chicken bones. It takes us on the road, shows us the open spaces, and urges us to leave them alone. The Drivers display their knack for understated brilliance. Together, Jimmy Thackery and the band deliver an excellent new album that is not to be missed.

Find Jimmy Thackery And The Drivers on tour. You’ll be sorry you didn’t.

July 10, 2014
Sellersville Theatre – Sellersville, PA
July 11, 2014
Chan’s – Woonsocket, RI
July 12, 2014
Bull Run – Shirley, MA
July 13, 2014
North Atlantic Blues Festival – Rockland, ME
July 15, 2014
Dinosaur BBQ – Syracuse, NY
July 16, 2014
Dinosaur BBQ – Rochester, NY
July 17. 2014
Dinosaur BBQ – Buffalo, NY
July 18, 2014
Turning Point – Piermont, NY
July 19, 2014
Stanhope House – Stanhope, NJ
July 21, 2014
Iridium – New York, NY
July 23, 2014
St Georges Country Store – St Georges, DE
July 25, 2014
Birchmere – Alexandria, VA w/ Sonny Landreth!
July 26, 2014
Acoustic Stage – Hickory, NC
July 30, 2014
Midway Tavern – Mishawaka, IN
July 31, 2014
Callahan’s – Auburn Hills, MI
Aug 01, 2014
Reggie’s Music Joint – Chicago, IL
August 02, 2014
Famous Dave’s – Minneapolis, MN
Aug 06, 2014
Uncle Bo’s – Topeka, KS
August 08, 2014
George’s – Fayetteville, AR
Aug 09, 2014
Knucklehead’s – Kansas City, MO
Aug 14, 2014
Saint Andrew’s Market Place – Dothan, AL
August 16, 2014
Great American Blues Fest – Panama City Beach, FL
October 11, 2014
Daytona Blues Festival – Daytona, FL
Dec 06, 2014
Bradenton Blues Festival – Bradenton, FL
Find me here

Jim Kanavy

Publisher at Blues Biscuits
I started writing about music professionally in 2008. Over the last 6 years I’ve been published in Hittin’ The Note magazine, American Blues News, Blues Blast, and American Blues Scene. I’ve met some wonderful people and I’ve heard a lot of music. I’ve written a lot of reviews. Some of the music is extraordinary, and some is not.I'm covering it all honestly and with integrity.
Find me here

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