The Fabulous Thunderbirds: On the Verge

[10 April 2013]

By J.C. Macek III

The Lone Star Blues stalwarts return...

Music fans who know the Fabulous Thunderbirds strictly for their mid-‘80s hit “Tuff Enuff” and its follow-up single “Wrap it Up”  may not realize that the band is more than a just a slickly produced pop rock band. The Fabulous Thunderbirds are a serious Texas blues-rock band co-founded by Stevie Ray Vaughan’s brother Jimmie.

The Vaughan-free Thunderbirds have continued to deliver that same straightforward rock-infused-blues for over two more decades. The new album On the Verge (their first since 2005) offers more of the same proficient blues, showcasing the voice of original frontman Kim Wilson.From the optimistic opener “I Want to Believe” to the pleading closer “Lonely Highway”, the band performs the kind of clear, steady music that would sound as fitting at an outdoor blues festival as it would over a Fender Stratocaster commercial.The E key progressions and flashy arpeggio-heavy guitar solos are models of modern blues showcases, just as expected.

The key is that this is “expected”. Though there is not a truly bad song on here, the album on the whole is filled with safe and predictable choices that make for an unexceptional ten songs. The Fabulous Thunderbirds are offering up more roots music, a far cry from their Top 40 days, and it should please their core fans, but those looking for “new” music from this band will find “new” to be a relative term.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/169829-the-fabulous-thunderbirds-on-the-verge/