Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers: Sinner Street
Sinner Street is the slickest, most conventional blues-rock album I've heard yet from Mr. Thackery. It can be debated whether Jim Gaines' rock-style production enhances or taints the music here, but one thing is clear: Thackery's guitar playing is so animated it lifts these songs to a higher place. Thackery's guitar work is as loud and fiery as any bluesman's, but there's a clean, architectural quality to his soloing that's more typical of a jazz guitarist. While Thackery's gritty singing voice isn't nearly as captivating as his guitar work, it gets the job done. His 11 original songs should please any fan of rock-oriented blues.
By itself, the Peter Gunn-like title track makes Sinner Street a worthwhile buy. Marked by a jazzy performance from newest Driver Jimmy Carpenter on saxophone, this instrumental track is as menacing as a late-night prowler. Saxman Carpenter provides a honking counter to Thackery's edgy guitar throughout the CD, thus expanding the Drivers' sound. Hard-rocking anthems "Detroit Iron," "Never Enough," "Million Dollar Bill," and "Havin' A Heart" sound run of the mill until Thackery injects each with an enervating solo. "Bad News" and "Chained to the Blues Line" are toe-tapping shuffles also energized by Thackery's churning guitar. The mellow instrumental "Blues 'Fore Dawn" is a surprisingly lyrical cut on an otherwise muscular collection of blues-rock.
Sinner Street is the most commercial album Jimmy Thackery has ever recorded, but it's plenty soulful, and it lends credence to an observation made by more than one critic: If any living guitarist deserves to mentioned in the same breath with Stevie Ray Vaughan, it's Jimmy Thackery.
Track Listing: Grab the Rafters; Bad News; Sinner Street; Lovin' My Money; Chained to the Blues Line; Detroit Iron; Hundreds into Ones; Never Enough; Million Dollar Bill; Havin' a Heart; Blues 'Fore Dawn
Personnel: Jimmy Thackery (guitar, vocals); Mark Stutso (drums, vocals); Ken Faltinson (electric bass, keys, backup vocals); Jimmy Carpenter (sax, backup vocals); Reba Russell (backup vocals)
Record Label: Blind Pig Records