Jimmy Thackery has been delivering his own brand of blue-collar hard-edged blues-tinged rock for some 40 years now, led by his sharp, emotive guitar style, and while nobody would accuse him of being a singer's singer, his quavering vocal approach is surprisingly effective in an everyman kind of way. In the Natural State pairs Thackery with the Cate Brothers (Ernie and Earl) for an Arkansas affair that features mostly blues-inflected tunes with touches of country, R&B, and even doo wop tossed into the mix. There are several covers here, including a fine, rolling take on Howlin' Wolf's "Howlin' for My Darling," but it is worth noting that the strongest songs are Thackery originals like the lead track, "Out of Mississippi"; a hushed, atmospheric ode to New Orleans, "Levee Prayer"; and the doo wop old-time rock & roll feel of the set's closer, "Tell Me Goodbye." In the Natural State comes complete with a lengthy blurb from Mike Huckabee, the current governor of Arkansas, and if the album isn't quite the masterpiece he claims it to be, it is still a strong outing, with enough subtle variety from track to track to keep it from bogging down into being simply another contemporary blues record.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett