Unlike many contemporary blues performers, Jimmy Thackery learned his craft first-hand, playing with the blues masters rather than listening to their recordings. To get where he is today, Thackery has journeyed a highway of life filled with a series of twists and turns. But he met all the right people — including the great Muddy Waters.

"Muddy was one of those guys who was constantly encouraging. He never told you what to do, but he always told you what you were doing wrong. He never minced words about that,” said Thackery, adding his time on stage with Waters is branded deep within his musical soul.

Whether Thackery headlines a festival in South Dakota or jams for hours in one of numerous blues bars that dot the musical landscape, he always unleashes an intense volley of rockin' blues guitar guaranteed to leave crowds emotionally spent. Most associate him with his 15 years as the co-founder of the Nighthawks, but he ended his time with them in 1987. Since then, Thackery has been on the road as a solo musician for 15 years doing nearly 300 shows a year, proving each night that he is still the guitar powerhouse in the blues.

After leaving the Nighthawks, Thackery formed six-piece R&B band The Assassins, an all-star R&B and funk band from the D.C. area, and recorded three albums with them. Then he put together his three-piece band The Drivers to highlight his explosive guitar and hit the blues highway — to the tune of 300 shows a year. That kind of pace was one of the reasons he’d left the Nighthawks, but this was different.

“What made that satisfying is that it was my ship and I was the captain of it. We were doing material that I was writing. We were doing arrangements that I came up with," he said,

Whenever Thackery plays live, there is a guitar stand on stage with four axes; he promises to use them all and he delivers.

He delivers in the recording studio too, not only regularly releasing solo efforts but also doing collaborations such as the two “Whiskey Store” albums with Tab Benoit; the critically acclaimed reunion with his old friend David Raitt on “Blue Rock It"; and 2012’s blues cruise double CD “As Live As It Gets” with JP Soars & the Hydraulic Horns.