Thoughtful Rocks & Hypnotic Fowl

Six By Nine (Independent)

By David Lilly

It's semantics, I tell ya. The word "thread" used to be and remains a sewing/tailoring term. The late 20th century saw it become associated with discussions in cyberspace. The latest incarnation is as the name of a passionate rock 'n' roll quartet that happens to be a positive piece of the music fabric of Kentuckiana. And there's another term at work here you might familiar with. The "power ballad" gives some folks a case of nausea, while others can't get enough. Thread plays some power ballads and each one sidesteps the ugliest ingredient of modern music: the corporate touch. Seemingly ironic comment ahead: Sure, songs like "Spring," "Ordinary Man" or "My World" would be right at home on radio, but they're still good songs.

One unusual thing about Thread is Steve Willis's triple duty as lead vocalist, acoustic guitarist and trumpet player. He's a terrific trumpeter. "How would you know, word man?" you might ask 'Cause I can hear and feel it; read on. The trumpet and the occasional wah-wah guitar are two of the highlights of the CD. One (possibly you) might notice that Willis's trumpet playing turns these songs into more than whatever they are without it. One of the best uses of that horn is on "Beautiful," which is not even close to being a power ballad. It's a hot rock 'n' roll bowl of soup with garlic trumpet, which makes it mighty tasty. And its lines, "You see the writing/It's on the wall/look in the corner/it's there/ask anybody/too much fun/you fall into despair," ring true, even if they aren't necessarily original. The funky groove and trumpet notified me that this song would also work beautifully as an instro. Nothing against the vocals.

The raucous "The Setting Sun" should get you out off your seat, shaking your meat, singing along and fondling that funky guitar and horn with your soul. "The Birdie" comes from somewhere in the jungle. It rocks, everybody shines, Wills's vocals seem to come from a 78 rpm and it must be a blast of a sing-along at shows, even if the audience just does the "oh oh" part. At 5:18 on the CD, they could improvise and easily take it to 20 minutes on stage and right there is your money's worth.

On the other hand, if you want to question my "power ballad" comments, go ahead. Whatever you decide, Thread rocks. To stay in the stitch, visit