Whether Jimmy Thackery headlines a festival in South Dakota or jams for hours in one of numerous blues bars that dot the musical landscape, he’ll always unleash an intense volley of rockin’ blues guitar guaranteed to leave crowds emotionally spent. His double edged guitar dynamics allow him to fire off tracer missiles, bend a note so it will fit under a limbo bar, run off dive bomber riffs, and find space within the trembling of one stinging note. “I put all my senses on hold and find the zone and follow what’s inside. There’s an electricity from your mind to your heart to your fingers. You just try and remember to breathe.”
He’s one of the few blues guitarists who learned first hand from the masters of the blues, not off a blues record or DVD. Though most associate Jimmy with his 15 years as the co-founder of the Nighthawks, he ended his time with them in 1987. Since then, Jimmy has been on the road as a solo musician for 15 years doing nearly 300 shows a year proving each night that he is still the guitar powerhouse in the blues.
Thackery has lived the life of a true road warrior; he’s absorbed the artistic lessons of life and filtered them into his guitar playing and song writing. To get where he is today, Jimmy has journeyed a highway of life filled with a series of twists and turns. He met all the right people and they have had a permanent influence on him.
Thackery left the Nighthawks in 1987 because he wanted the opportunity to write and put newer material into the sets. First he formed a six piece R&B band, the Assassins, an all-star R&B, funk band from the DC area, and recorded three albums with them. Then, in 1992, Thackery put together his three piece band called the Drivers to highlight his explosive guitar and hit the blues highway.
He’s recorded eight discs for Blind Pig. His first record, Empty Arms Motel, was released in 1992. “That one still seems to be the favorite of a lot of people. I went into Kingsnake Records and rattled off some covers and originals. Halfway through, Bob Greenlee called Jerry Del Guidance at Blind Pig about the sessions.” From that session, Thackery began his years with Blind Pig. In 1993 he followed up with Sideways In Paradise, a down home, laid back acoustic duet with John Mooney. Then, in 1994 Jimmy recorded Trouble Man, with Memphis producer Jim Gaines. That began their five record association. Wild Night Out, a 1995 live recording, Drive To Survive in 1996, Switching Gears in 1998, and Sinner Street, which added a sax to Thackery’s music in 2000.
After leaving Blind Pig, Thackery has released and produced two of his own records, We Got It and True Stories, on Telarc and two collaborations on Telarc with Tab Benoit, Whiskey Store and Whiskey Store Live. And there was the critically acclaimed reunion with his old friend David Raitt on Blue Rock It.