Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers
@ The Cabooze, March 6, 1998
by Ann Wickstrom

Jimmy Thackery
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp. All rights reserved.
Jimmy's popularity in the twin cities has been steadily rising for the last five years or so, but this show pretty much sealed it: he has reached a new level, that place where our guitar heroes go when there's no place left to go. At least in the blues world, I think Jimmy Thackery has just about hit the ceiling.

Long before the doors of the Cabooze opened at 8:00, there was a line of fans that extended half way down the block. By 8:30 the place was packed. Out of curiosity, I made it a point to talk to some people who sat near me. Some had never seen Thackery before and weren't necessarily big blues fans; they just wanted to see this great guitar player they'd heard about from their friend/relative/co-worker/fill-in-the-blank. I don't think they were disappointed, but I think some long-time fans found themselves squished up into a corner, longingly recalling the days when you could move about comfortably, dance, stand up front without a hassle if you felt like it, talk to Jimmy if you were so inclined. Oh well-it was fun while it lasted! On the other hand, you have to be happy for the performer when these things happen, and it couldn't have happened to a better guy.

For this leg of the tour, Jimmy brought along country blues player Patrick Sweaney from Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to open the shows. Patrick also helped Jimmy with his gear since Jimmy had a pretty major mishap in the Virgin Islands awhile back; he jumped off stage while playing and broke his foot (and finished that show by the way - what a true road warrior). Patrick opened with a brief solo set and was very well-received by the crowd. His set included a great version of the Robert Johnson/Elmore James slide classic, "Dust My Broom". Sweaney is one of those players who always makes it sounds like there's more guitars than there are.

Jimmy Thackery
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp. All rights reserved.
Next, Jimmy hobbled out and perched upon a stool, a plastic cast upon his left leg all the way up to his knee. He drew heavily from his Drive to Survive album, including the Hooker-influenced "You Got Work To Do", "Cool Guitars", and, for an encore, "Apache." BB King's "You Upset Me Baby" was a highlight for many, as was the Hendrix-inspired version of "The Star Spangled Banner" at the end of the show.

Bass player Michael Patrick, a twin cities native, was beaming throughout the show. It must have been a great feeling to get such an overwhelming reception in your home town. Mark Stutso proved once again that he is not only an astute drummer but also a truly gifted, "nacherl-born" singer. What a voice! I'd love to hear more of it.

Jimmy Thackery
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp. All rights reserved.
All in all, this show was crowded to the point of being difficult; in fact, too crowded for maximum enjoyment in my opinion. But that doesn't take away from the performance itself; quite simply, Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers ROCK.

This review is copyright © 1998 by Ann Wickstrom, all rights reserved.

See review from 1996.

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at: mnblues@aol.com

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Copyright © 1998 by Ray M. Stiles
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