Jimmy Thackery,
Healin' Ground
(Telarc, 2005)

Most of the 11 songs on Jimmy Thackery's Healin' Ground, including the title song with its thumping grooves, skirt the edges of tragedy. Resolve and healing are on hand everywhere.

In the broken-hearted confessional "Had Enough," epiphany comes in time to prevent alcoholic ruin or the loss of a relationship. Or, as "Get Up" so aptly puts it, "I got to get up and make something happen 'cause I got something to do. ... If I don't do it, it sure ain't gonna be done." And the country-blues-rock "Devil's Toolbox" is a biting call-out against temptation and corruption that would be equally at home in a honky-tonk, rock arena or church.

The lyrics of the more bluesy "Weaker Than You Know" about a lost love who doesn't recognize the singer's grief never become maudlin or whiny. The country-blues "Upside of Lonely" has a neat, thumping groove and wailing harmonica; the witty recounting of the simple joys of a man without a woman prevents it from being whiny. "Can't Lose What You Never Had" is traditional and the slide guitar just brings the acceptance of life home.

The rockabilly "Let the Guitar Do the Work" is fun and sexy. The three instrumental cuts -- the meditative electric "Fender Bender," the swing-tinged "Kickin' Chicken" and the blues jam "A Shot in the Dark" -- definitely show the guitar doing its work.

The album features Kenny Greenberg on guitar, Steve Mackey and Michael Rhodes on bass, Kevin McKendree on piano and Hammond organ, Lynn Williams and Tom Hambridge on drums and Gary Nicholson on keyboard pad. Additional vocals are by Mark Stutso.

- Rambles
written by Carole McDonnell
published 3 September 2005

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