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Ernie Thacker

The Hangman – 2009 (Pinecastle)

Reviewed by Dr. Bobby Jones

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CDs by Ernie Thacker

At first glance, one would assume Ernie Thacker's music to be a dark recording. A black CD imprinted with the stark contrast of a red hangman's noose does not bring to mind sugar coated images.

There are songs of shot down lovers and outlaws on the run to Mexico. Thacker sings of lost and lonely wanderings from home, divorce and lost love. Drinking to excess and early demise of country singers stories are sung with conviction. But just when you think the man is lost, redemption and songs of faith give hope. Thacker survived a life-threatening accident a few years back, and one suspects the CD is metaphorical for his personal saga. It does ring authentic.

Thacker spent a number of years with Ralph Stanley. However, his lead singing is in the baritone register; more of a country flair than the mountain sound of the Stanleys. Still there is no doubt it is authentic bluegrass. Several songs, such as I Wish You Knew are very traditional with tight harmonies and expertly rendered instrumentation.

The CD is a sad and lonesome one. Don't drink too much whiskey while you listen. This one could get to a man.