"These songs depict stories of things that are directly related to somebody we know or an event that happened to a person who has come across our lives." —Jimmy Thackery, from the liner notes
The blues is all about telling stories—the painful and the joyous, the laid back and the raucous. Since the early part of the 20th century, the blues tradition has been filled with artists who absorb every aspect and dimension of the human condition, from the unique to the universal, and report the news back to the world.
Guitarist Jimmy Thackery, backed by his powerful sax-bass-drums trio known as The Drivers, has long been a high-profile torchbearer of this century-old tradition. In a career that spans three decades, this fiery and versatile axemaster has tapped into the most universal stories of the world around him and committed them to music with a sonic passion that has become his trademark.
It's only fitting, then, that he call his new Telarc release True Stories. "I've always written songs that are grounded in true events," he says, "but this was the first time I purposefully sat down to write specifically about true events and my life experiences. I think that's what the blues is all about. If you look back over all the great blues songs, you'll find a lot of truth in them."
True Stories kicks off in fine Thackery/Drivers style with the crunchy and driving "Got It Going On," an obvious tip of the hat to Thackery's wife, Sally. Jimmy and Sally share songwriting credits in a number of spots along the way, including the gritty "Blues Man on Saturday Night" and the poignant "I Think I Hear the Rain." Other noteworthy stories include the mournful "Baby's Got the Blues" and the whimsical "Snakes in My Mailbox," a lazy, down-home track punctuated by tasty fingerwork on acoustic guitar and some melancholy lines from saxophonist Jimmy Carpenter.
Along with the original material, True Stories ends with a couple of tasty covers. Buddy Johnson's "Crazy 'bout a Saxophone" provides a swing-flavored platform for Carpenter to stretch out and lay down some fine blasts, while Roy Buchanan's richly atmospheric "The Messiah Will Come" is a slow and churning instrumental closer that serves as the final chapter to this collection of well-crafted tales.
"Pure and simple, I think this record is my best work," says Thackery, and he's made some good ones along the way, including his 2002 Telarc debut, We Got It, and Whiskey Store, his 2002 collaboration with Telarc labelmate Tab Benoit. With True Stories, Thackery draws his inspiration from the well of real-life experience, and comes up with a fine set of tales worth hearing many times over.