Dallas native Jim Suhler has been splitting his time between leading his own group, Monkey Beat, and, since 1999, playing lead and rhythm guitar with George Thorogood and the Destroyers. His latest release, Panther Burn, finds Monkey Beat’s keyboardist Shawn Phares, bassist Carlton Powell, and drummer Beau Chadwell augmented by harpist Kim Wilson, keyboardist Tim Alexander, vocalists Carolyn Wonderland and Ray Benson, and others – probably the reason it’s under Suhler’s name alone.
At 53, Suhler’s influences come largely from the British blues movement and after – the Stones, Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher, ZZ Top, the Vaughan brothers, Anson Funderburgh, and Bugs Henderson. The larger ensemble works to Suhler’s advantage, showcasing his electric and resonator playing as well as songwriting, although the CD’s highlight is his slide arrangement of the instrumental “Remember Mama,” from Elmer Bernstein’s score of To Kill A Mockingbird.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s September ’14 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.