On the eleventh Drivers CD, Jimmy Thackery seems to be showing off his talent as a songwriter. Known mostly for his guitar virtuosity, Thackery has truly matured as a lyricist with this release. While he will never be confused with Paul McCartney or Chris Difford, he does hold his own on Inside Tracks.
On the disc, Thackery continues to mine the elusive Americana musical genre by blending country, R&B, a bit of surf music and a whole lot of blues; all of which fit seamlessly together within his trademark sound. Backed by Mark Bumgarner on bass, Earl Cate on guitar and Mark Stutso on drums, Thackery delivers the goods on the socially conscious "Change The Rules" and "Just a Feeling" as well as "Blinking of an Eye," a song about loss and heartache.
Although he is stretching his muse by setting his music to lyrics, it is on the album's instrumentals that he really shines. The most attention-grabbing, thought-provoking and ultimately most moving track is the closer "(You Got Me) Now What You Gonna Do," which sounds like Duane Eddy meets Les Paul, as played by Chet Atkins, with the result bright, moving and brilliant. Another instrumental, "Landlocked," sounds like a classic Thackery tune and a classic surf-guitar anthem combined.
Thackery also shines on his cover of Chuck Berry's cross-country driving anthem "Promised Land." His take on the song is bouncy, enthusiastic and warm, and with its countrified blues sound, the song fits very well on this collection.
Long-time fans might not immediately welcome Thackery circa 2008; the tracks on the CD are slightly out of his audience's comfort zone. If only because he has taken the Drivers in a new direction (though not completely outside of their element), the album requires more than one listen to be fully appreciated. Although less bluesy and more within the realm of twangy and rocking country, Inside Tracks still features some fiery, razor-sharp six string, and that trademark Thackery strut.
Personnel: Jimmy Thackery: guitar, vocals; Mark "Bumpy Rhodes" Bumgarner: bass; Earl Cate: guitar; Mark Stutso: drums, vocals.