ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, JUNE 2, 2005
By Steve Newton
When Jimmy Thackery was a kid, his father took him and his brother to see the 1964 Peter Sellers comedy A Shot in the Dark. They all loved it; the boys would repeat Inspector Clouseau’s lines endlessly at home, bent over in hysterics in front of their bewildered mother. At the time Thackery couldn’t have guessed that he would record a version of Henry Mancini’s sprightly title track in 2004, but it’s there in all its two-and-half-minute glory on his brand new CD, Healin’ Ground.
Healin’ Ground differs from the Pittsburgh-born, D.C.-raised picker’s previous CDs in that it’s the first time he’s recorded with studio musicians. Nicholson hired first-call Nashville session players like guitarist Kenny Greenberg and keyboardist Kevin McKendree, who normally lay down tracks for big-time country acts like Garth Brooks and the Judds.
“I’m usually kind of a maverick by using my road band,” says Thackery, “and most producers scratch their heads and say, ‘We can do it faster and better if we hire all these hotshots.’ Well, those hotshots can play every note in the world, but there’s a feel and an atmosphere and a dynamic that goes along with the real deep blues stuff that your average hot-dog studio player ain’t gonna get. He’s gonna be a little more Muzak than the guys that are road-tested, that are playin’ it every night.
“But these guys [on Healin’ Ground] are a different story,” he continues, “Every one of them’s a closet blues player. They’re the real deal. They just happen to be playin’ with hillbillies.”