Tuesday, December 18, 2018


For most artists these days, four years between albums is the norm, but for John Hiatt, it's the longest break in his career. 2014's Terms Of My Surrender gained him the usual good reviews and acclaim, but like most of his albums of the past two decades, it came and went pretty fast. Maybe the break will spur some more fan interest, because he certainly has come back with a strong one.

It's always a bit disorienting to hear Hiatt's voice these days, as he's lost some range and sounds weary. But he's using it too, a shaky voice singing about shaky people. The woman driving through Dirty Nashville in All The Way To The River is doing it "up late with hollowed out eyes." We all might be made in His image, but Hiatt advises "If you love me don't expect a lot, I'm a poor imitation of God." He's not bemoaning his age though. In his Over The Hill, he makes his case for continuing in love's battles, stating there's "still a few peaks and valleys I ain't seen."

So, all good in the lyric department, and the better news is how sharp and catchy the music is. The stripped-down group, basic guitar-bass-drums-keyboards, hits a groove on each track, and Hiatt proves again a master at great choruses and subtle hooks throughout. Just think about his classic Bring The Family track Thing Called Love; this is an album full of that.

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