By DARREN THORNSBERRY
Special to the Troublesome Creek Times
There is music that reminds one of a specific time and place – a song that connects a person to the past. Most of us will hear a special tune or album and remember a significant time in our lives. It’s the soundtrack of a season.
Then there is music that is felt in the bones, notes that drip with the ache and the joy of a life lived, harmony that tells you where you’ve been and perhaps where you’re going. That is the music of home, and Knott County’s own Kenny Thacker is eager to tell you his story of home in song.
Thacker, an internationally renowned musician and minister, released “On the Front Porch” in November. It’s a musical chronicle of his bluegrass-infused Kentucky upbringing and tribute to his grandfather and other family heroes. “My life has been blessed with many people worthy to be called heroes; not the least of which was my grandpa Big Harless Slone,” says Thacker. “He was a man of the mountains and a mountain of a man. These songs are dedicated to him.”
“On the Front Porch” is a master class in bluegrass – 12 songs, most of which Kenny learned on the front porch of his grandpa’s house. The album, his third, is rich in the mournful yet hopeful tradi- tion of Appalachian music. Tragic lyrics are as honest as the coal miner’s condition. This music, Thacker explains, has often brought mountain people joy and hope. He calls it a “sparkling persistence to carry on, oftentimes in spite of bleak circumstance.”
Thacker, who lives in Prosper, Texas, with his wife and children, grew up in Hindman. He played his first gigs here, from the roller skating rink to the high school prom. Readers may recognize the name of Kenny’s uncle Ray Slone. It was Ray who hired Kenny at age 11 to play professionally in his family band – The Slone Family. This early career move started Kenny on a musical journey that led him to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and beyond. Still, Kenny gets back to Hindman every couple of years to visit family and enjoy the mountains he so loves.
Kenny’s latest album is essentially a group of friends playing music together, set to tape, but it’s…
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