Since co-founding the Nighthawks in 1972, this singer-guitarist’s compass has pointed steadily toward the blues, but like 2006’s In a Natural State collaboration with the Cate Brothers, this disc veers into roadhouse rock, country, and even jazz.
Although it ends with a suite of three soulful instrumentals, including the Wes Montgomery-influenced title track and Jimi Hendrix’s rarely covered psychedelic funker “Who Knows,” Thackery’s concentrated as much on songwriting here as his bruising guitar tones. He trashes the cult of celebrity in “Hit the Big Time” and “Fifteen Minutes,” dripping pure acid over riff-based grooves, and “Blue Tears” is melancholy honky-tonk, sold by Thackery’s thin, quavering voice and faux-steel-guitar string-bending. The spoken blues “XXX Wife” plays marital collapse for laughs, but Thackery remains most articulate when he’s picking. The shuffle “Hobart’s Blues” is a stone Texas 12-bar guitar showcase, and the album’s beautiful centerpiece is “Daze in May,” a Tex-Mex reverie that glides on Thackery’s mix of acoustic tones, with a sunny, mellow electric melody and volume swells that conjure clouds floating through a peaceful desert sky. –Ted Drozdowski