Thackery plays blues for friends |

Thackery plays blues for friends

'Blues on the Elk River' brings guitarist to the public

Margaret Hair

Blues musician Jimmy Thackery plays with his band The Drivers for "Blues on the Elk River" at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Glen Eden Resort. Tickets are $25.

— Concert promoter and North Routt resident Larry McCoy has been booking blues guitar powerhouse Jimmy Thackery in Clark since the early 1980s.

For the most part, those concerts were more like private parties. At 3 p.m. Sunday, Jimmy Thackery and The Drivers will headline a public concert at Glen Eden Resort. Colorado Springs blues guitarist John-Alex Mason opens the show.

“Rather than up in a field in a valley between a couple of mountains, we’re going to bring it down to the Glen Eden Resort, open it to the public and rock the woods,” Thackery said.

Thackery was a founding member of Washington, D.C., blues and roots rock band The Nighthawks, and he played with the group from 1972 to 1987. He released 10 records with that band. He has put out 15 more since forming his own groups, including The Assassins and The Drivers. Toward the end of his time with The Nighthawks, Thackery started coming to Colorado, rounding out his tours with a party in North Routt.

“Oddly enough, there’s a bunch of my compadres and friends that originally all were part of a bar in Atlanta that we used to play when I was back in a band called The Nighthawks : and one by one, for some reason, a lot of these folks ended up in the Steamboat area after the bar closed, back in the early ’80s sometime,” Thackery said.

Those friends formed what Thackery called “a little coalition, a hat-passing group.” Every time the blues player planned to be in the Northwest Colorado neighborhood, the group called and brought him to Clark for a show. As demand increased, organizers decided to open the show up to the public, McCoy said.

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“It’s kind of a way for me to see a bunch of friends that I knew 35 years ago,” Thackery said. All bets are off when it comes to being serious among friends, and audience members should expect a loose set list at the Sunday show, he said.

Thackery and The Drivers play what most people would call blues rock – high energy tunes set to a steady rhythm with room for searing solos. But to Thackery, everything is based on the blues, whether it’s Robert Johnson or Britney Spears. Within those ground rules, he doesn’t like to put a label on what his band does.

“It’s pretty amped-up, rocking blues. I tend not to put myself in a pigeonhole,” Thackery said. His influences come from blues, soul, rockabilly, R&B and surf music, he said.

“I do everything from Chicago blues to Texas blues, to stuff that I write that has no resemblance to any of that, to surf music to good ole rock ‘n’ roll,” Thackery said. “I try to put all the influences I’ve had in the last 40 years of playing music into what I write and what I play.”

All that will come out at “Blues on the Elk River” on Sunday. Tickets for the event are $25 and are available in advance at Glen Eden Family Restaurant & Tavern, The Clark Store and All That Jazz. Any remaining tickets will be available at the start of the event, McCoy said.

Thackery said he and his band look forward to the Clark show as much as any other concert they do all year, and treat the concert as their “reward gig.”

“We try to have fun doing this stuff,” he said. “We’ve been doing this stuff – most of us – most of our lives, and I think we’ve finally grown up enough to realize that really you just can’t take it that seriously, and we’re just trying to have as much fun as we can and get away with it.”

If you go

What: “Blues on the Elk River,” featuring Jimmy Thackery and The Drivers, with opening act John-Alex Mason

When: 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Glen Eden Resort, 54737 Routt County Road 129, Clark

Cost: $25 in advance; tickets are available at Glen Eden Family Restaurant & Tavern, The Clark Store and All That Jazz; any remaining tickets will be available at the start of the event

Call: 879-9555

Online: Songs by John Alex Mason are streaming at…

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