Dirty Linen (p.69) - "The songwriting on Thackery's latest shows a new focus on life's fragility and a firm sense of social consciousness."
Living Blues (p.36) - "Thackery shows off his guitar chops on 'That Dog Won't Hunt.' The song features fiery, squealing riffs reminiscent of the late Roy Buchanan."
Personnel: Jimmy Thackery (vocals, guitar); Mark Stutso (vocals, drums); Earl Cate (guitar).
Audio Mixer: Lincoln Clapp.
Recording information: 04/2008.
Photographer: Susan B. Storch.
After ten albums with his backup band, the Drivers, Jimmy Thackery seems to have tired of reading reviews that extol his solos while dismissing his songs as mere platforms for his guitar dexterity and suggesting that his weak voice isn't really needed. With 2007's Solid Ice, the tenth of those albums, he began to try to up the quality of his songwriting and expand his musical range, and that process continues with the 11th Drivers album, Inside Tracks. "Blinking of an Eye," for example, is sung in the voice of a man whose wife has died suddenly, leading him to reflect on how quickly things can change. "Change the Rules" and "Just a Feeling" express the songwriter's social conscience, and "What Part of 'No'" is his attack on the kind of pop stars he sees on TV. In such songs, Thackery tends to put his guitar solos off until the end, after he's had his say in his lyrics. There are a couple of instrumentals, and he uses them to explore other musical styles. "Landlocked" is reminiscent of Duane Eddy, although the twangy guitar sound gives way to more lyrical playing in the manner of Mark Knopfler. And "(You Got Me) Now What You Gonna Do" is a country shuffle that might have been lifted from a Chet Atkins album. Thackery certainly has made lots of records full of hot guitar playing, and this one certainly isn't bereft of guitar. But fans should note that it is an attempt by the artist to stretch himself creatively, making it a more diverse and tentative effort than usual. [Apparently, the sequencing of the disc was changed after the covers were printed. Contrary to what it says on the back cover and in the booklet, the order of songs is: 1. "All Because of You"; 2. "Blinking of an Eye"; 3. "Change the Rules"; 4. "Eat It All"; 5. "Just a Feeling"; 6. "Landlocked"; 7. "Promised Land"; 8. "That Dog Won't Hunt"; 9. "What Part of 'No'"; 10. "(You Got Me) Now What You Gonna Do."] ~ William Ruhlmann