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Jimmy Thackery

Ex-Nighthawks guitarist Jimmy Thackery has been playing his own brand of blues-tinged rock as a solo artist for some twenty years now (he left the Nighthawks in 1987) and there's no denying that he's a first-class guitarist with a sharp ear for tone and a knack for perfectly placed fills and evocative leads. His quavering, shaky voice is a problem, though, and while he conjures up the feel of an old veteran country singer on some of his slower numbers, his singing often lacks the punch, power and sass of his guitar playing on the more upbeat material.

You don't buy a Jimmy Thackery album for the vocals, though, and fans of his crisp guitar work won't be disappointed at all with Solid Ice, which comes packed with wonderful riffs and multi-tracked leads. Thackery took half a year off from the road to write the songs for this project, so it's a bit ironic that the best five tracks (roughly half the album) are instrumentals. The vocal cuts are certainly passable, with “How Long,” which uses Thackery's hesitant country twang to good advantage, and the powerful “Fifteen Minutes,” a treatise on the hollowness of fame that rides over an archetypal chord progression that sounds like a slowed-down version of the riff to AC/DC's “Problem Child,” being the most singular.

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