Sunday, November 15, 2009

jimmy thackery, crystola roadhouse

Here's a review of Jimmy Thackery I did for the Gazette a week or so ago when he played the Crystola Roadhouse in Woodland Park:
Jimmy Thackery is slowly making his way through the crowded room in the Crystola Bar and Grill toward the stage in relative anonymity. He can easily be mistaken for somebody’s uncle: amiable, chatting with a few friends, in no hurry to get anywhere. As he gets up on stage and pulls out his beat up ‘64 strat and slips into a pair of sunglasses he adopts a serious game face that leads bassist Mark Bumgarner and drummer Russ Wilson through a set of songs including covers and material from across several of Jimmy’s albums.

This is my first time seeing Thackery live, and it doesn’t disappoint me: the blend of tones and styles that have made Jimmy Thackery a legend in the blues community is all there. Known to be hard to classify musically, Thackery pulls in elements of bluesy surf rock using classic vibrato and reverb through numbers that feature him playing fast rock riffs complete with southern rock harmonics as accents. Not to ignore the blues purists, measures of primitive clean notes that somehow merge with slow meaningful weeping blues show that he’s internalized not just the notes but the passion of past great blues players.

His eclectic styles verge on the bizarre, but they all seem to work: westernized surf-rock, blues mixed with country, Muddy Waters to Chuck Berry to Jimi Hendrix, Thackery’s all over the board. Dragging shuffles, cowboy honky-tonk, boogie-woogie, Texas swing, upbeat 12-bar blues, it’s was all there and the crowd loved it!

Splitting about half the numbers between instrumentals and songs with vocals featuring Russ Wilson or Thackery himself, the band is totally comfortable working the crowd. Between songs the band good naturedly heckles back and forth with members of the audience, and right in the middle of one song featuring Wilson in a slow heartfelt vocal number, he stops to admonish a group of women who laughed over something at their table leading to a moment of pretend-pouting by Wilson which gets the crowd (totally laughing and encouraging him to get back to the song) totally engaged. In a later segue between numbers, Thackery played a long extend soulful blues solo that ended with some blistering riffs blowing the hair on people in the back of the room when he stopped and pulled a James Brown fainting shtick stumbling back into the drums as laughter and cat-calls mixed with heavy applause.

The snow outside, the warmth and cheer inside, and solid music made this night rowdy, raucous, and fun!

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