Clinch Mountain Echo

Matthew Thacker - Blue Shades

(No Label) 2003

Matthew Thacker - Blue Shades

Average Album Rating: 4
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This CD from 2003, although technically a solo cd by Matthew Thacker, has Ernie Thacker's finger prints all over it. Not only did he help produce and engineer it, he played guitar and sang baritone most tracks and provided lead vocals on four others including Forever True which he also wrote.

Originally only available at gigs, the album has recently been made available as a digital download from CDBaby, and for fans of Ernie's it is defintiely worth picking up.

A fair chunk of the material is drawn from Matt's rock music influences, with Already Gone being orignally by The Eagles, Sweet Child O'Mine - Guns 'n Roses and Blackbird by The Beatles. As Matt Thacker sings on his original Rock N' Roll Attitude:-

"You keep comin' at me saying my grass ain't blue
Just because I play and sing a little different than you do
All my life I've loved to hear Carter Stanley sing
The lord knows I know Carter, so I gotta do my own thing"

"I was raised on bluegrass music and I'll always love it so
But you'll also see me watching MTV and jamming Rock 'n' Roll
It's all a matter of what I like, I never say that it's right or wrong
For me Jimmy Martin and Jimmy Hendrix have always got along"

"Well I live the picking of Flatt & Scruggs and the singin' of Bill Monroe
But I also like The Beatles and dig the Rolling Stones
I ain't trying to start trouble, by doing what I do
But I like playing bluegrass with that Rock 'N' Roll attitude"

Production on the album is top notch, and the bluegrass musicianship is like-wise excellent with the Thackers' tastefully accompanied by Mike Bentley (Alan Bibey & Grasstowne) Adam Haynes (The Grascals), Rod Smith (The Kevin Prater Band) and Matt Stacy (Bad Ridge). Sis' Dee Dee Thacker also makes an appearance on backing vocal on There Is A Trap. (This song was of course recorded by the Stanley Brothers on their sessions for their Award Winners At The Folk Song Festival LP.)

Normally I'm not that great a fan of electric bass in bluegrass (sorry Matt), but on this album it fits well, particulary on the grassed-up fiery rendition of Sweet Child O'Mine. Matt is also an accomplished song-writer and vocalist with Blue Shades being another stand-out cut. The song selection and sequencing also flows well, with a beautiful guitar-vocal rendition of Blackbird making a sweet coda at the end.

Overall this is quite a gem of an album, well worth investigating.

Thanks to Col. Dreyden Gordon for the heads up on this one & to Matthew Thacker for the additional info.

NB: (*) Ernie sings lead on Blue Shades, Already Gone, Forever True and There Is A Trap.

Blue Shades

Matthew Thacker
Rock N' Roll Attitude

Matthew Thacker
Already Gone

Jack Chempchin / Robb Strandlund
Change of Heart

Matthew Thacker
Them Blues

Lessons From The Cornfield

Bill Castle / Ed Drake
Forever True

Ernie Thacker
Walkin' Out

Matthew Thacker
There Is a Trap

Bill J. Lindsey
Sweet Child O' Mine

Axel W. Rose / Duff Rose McKagan / Izzy Stradlin / Saul Hudson / Steven Adler
Song 4 Peace

Matthew Thacker

John Lennon / Paul McCartney


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