The release of the The Hangman is a monumental achievement for Ernie Thacker and Route 23. On April 18, 2006, in the middle of recording the album, Ernie Thacker’s musical career nearly came to an end when he was involved in a car accident. He was left on life support and in a coma for two months. After 102 days in ICU, Ernie was transferred into rehabilitation where he spent an additional three months before returning home. As a result of the accident, Ernie is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Through the support of his band members, who have stuck with him throughout his recovery, and the support of the bluegrass community, Thacker was able to finish The Hangman and made his return to performing music in April of 2008.
The Hangman features Ernie Thacker on Lead vocal and guitar, Matthew Thacker on bass and tenor vocal, Dick Roach on banjo and baritone vocal, Brandon Shupping on Mandolin, and guest John Rigsby on fiddle. Songs range from originals by Ernie and family members Matt, DD, and Dave Thacker to “I Wish You Knew” by Charlie and Ira Louvin and a cover of Dwight Yoakum’s “This Drinkin’ Will Kill Me.
Thacker’s other achievements include a six-year stint with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mt. Boys and appearances on the Grammy-nominated The Stanley Tradition and its IBMA award winning successor The Stanley Gospel Tradition.