Archive for the John Hiatt Category

John Hiatt: The Open Road

Posted in John Hiatt on March 12, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

With the title of his new CD, John Hiatt tells you everything you need to know about the album while also providing a perfect suggestion for the best place to listen to the eleven songs it contains. The Open Road is the setting for many of the songs in this collection, and the energy brought to each track by Hiatt’s band (Doug Lancio on guitar, Patrick O’Hearn on bass, and Kenny Blevins on drums) makes this disc the perfect one to keep you grooving on down the highway.

The road trip begins with shrunken heads and Mardi Gras beads hanging from a rearview mirror on the album opening title track. The expedition continues on “Haulin’,” a rollicking travelogue that has Hiatt “chewing up the road like biscuits” on his way to see his baby in Louisville. He keeps on traveling to a soundtrack filled with bluesy rock guitar riffs that have long been the staple of his sound until he comes to the end of his journey with “Carry You Back Home.”
Even when the images in the songs don’t specifically invoke putting wheels down on the highway, there is still a sense of movement. In the lazy blues of “Like a Freight Train,” Hiatt plays the role of a rounder who is moving forward with his life and trying to make amends for past misdeeds. “Homeland” finds him trying to make peace with the ghosts and spirits that live behind the barn on his property and helping them find their way home (seriously… Hiatt’s real life house was supposedly haunted).
This album is Hiatt’s 19th studio release and another strong addition to his catalogue. Whether you’re listening to this disc in the car as you roll down the highway or just while sitting at home in your favorite chair, The Open Road is sure to take you for quite a ride.
John Hiatt: The Open Road (Buy Album)

WDVX Fall Fund Drive

Posted in Elvis Costello, John Hiatt, The Hackensaw Boys, WDVX on October 13, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

Just a quick post here to start out the week and let you know about something that’s going on right now.

Regular readers should know by now that I work as a part-time DJ at WDVX Radio in Knoxville, Tennessee. In fact, I know some of you only found this site because you’ve heard me mention it on the air.

For those who don’t know… WDVX is a listener supported Americana station here in Knoxville, and we are now in the middle of our Fall Fund Drive. Twice a year, we come to our listeners and ask them to help us out by making a pledge of financial support to the station. Listener donations make up a substantial portion of our budget and helps to pay for various daily operating expenses such as internet streaming costs, rights fees for the music we play, and equipment maintenance. In short… listener support helps keep us on the air.

If you’re already familiar with WDVX, you can make your pledge online here. If you’ve never listened before, you can find our webstream here.

If you’ve never listened before, come check us out sometime. We play a lot of the music that I talk about here on the blog. It’s mostly a mix of Americana, but we also have specialty shows dedicated to bluegrass, classic country, blues, independent artists, and some more bluegrass. We also broadcast a free live concert series everyday at noon (Eastern time) and a monthly concert series hosted by Jim Lauderdale. There’s a reason Oxford American magazine once called WDVX, “probably the best radio station in the world.”

I’m on the air Wednesday nights from 6-10 and Friday nights from 6-9 (all times Eastern), but feel free to stop by and listen anytime. Maybe you’ll like it and be motivated to donate in the future.

Just for fun… here are a couple of radio songs to get you in the mood.

Elvis Costello: Radio, Radio (Buy Album)
John Hiatt: Pirate Radio (Buy Album)
The Hackensaw Boys: Radio (Buy Album)

My Dog & Me… On the Road

Posted in John Hiatt, Rob McNurlin, The Steeldrivers on September 30, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

The creature you see pictured above is my dog, Deacon. My wife is out of town this week… so right now it’s just my dog and me here at home.

John Hiatt: My Dog and Me (Buy Album)

This weekend, Deacon and I will hit the road to take in the glorious fall tradition that is the Kentucky Apple Festival in Paintsville, KY. The Apple Festival is your typical small town festival complete with parades, carnivals, crafts tents, food vendors, and concerts. Here, all the concerts take place on the steps of the courthouse building and are free to the public. Usually the performers have some sort of connection to the city or the region. Last year, Paintsville native Crystal Gayle was the headliner, and she brought her sister, Loretta Lynn, along as well. To my knowledge, it was Loretta’s first public performance in her hometown in my lifetime.

This year… the Friday night headliners are none other than The Steeldrivers! Songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Chris Stapleton is a Paintsville native, and I’m pretty sure this will be his very first appearance in his hometown with his new band. Chris and I were in the same graduating class in high school, and I’m sure old friends will be out in droves for the show, which could amount to a high school reunion of sorts. I’m looking forward to seeing some old classmates that I haven’t seen in a decade or more.

On top of that… The Steeldrivers could very well be The Award Winning Steeldrivers by the time they come to town. The group is nominated for three awards at this year’s International Bluegrass Music Awards (Album, Song, and Emerging Artist of the Year) that are being held Thursday in Nashville. Hopefully they will fare better there than they did at the Americana Awards (Mike Farris? I mean… I like him, but… c’mon).

Either way, I’m looking forward to a great hometown show. Here’s some live Steeldrivers music to get you in the mood. The album these songs come from is only available at live shows… the buy links will direct you to their self-titled debut.

The Steeldrivers: Peacemaker (Buy Album)

The Steeldrivers: You Put the Hurt on Me (Buy Album)

I’m also looking forward to seeing another old friend this weekend. Rob McNurlin (pictured above) is a musician from Ashland, KY who specializes in his own distinct brand of “Beatink Cowboy Country.” He’s worked with artists such as Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Jorma Koukonen, and Marty Stuart and draws influences from artists such as Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan to form a mix of folk, country, hillbilly blues, and gospel.

Rob was always a good friend of ours at Morehead State Public radio where I worked before moving to Knoxville. He could always be counted on as an in-studio guest during our fund drive weeks. I really came to love Rob’s music during those late-night, on-air jam sessions at the MSPR studios. I haven’t heard him play in a few years… and I’m really looking forward to hearing his unique voice again.

Rob McNurlin: Lotta Good Men (Buy Album)

Rob McNurlin: Best Black Western Suit (Buy Album)

Americana Music Awards: Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting

Posted in Americana Music Awards, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy and Julie Miller, John Hiatt, Patty Griffin, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash on August 20, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

On Monday, I featured the group the Americana Music Association will honor with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance… Jason and the Scorchers.

Today, we feature the recipiant of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting, John Hiatt. I was going to wait to do the Hiatt post next week, until I realized that today is actually Hiatt’s birthday. The Master of Disaster turns 56 today.

I wrote about Hiatt last month when he played a show in Maryville just outside of Knoxville. In that space, I mentioned just a few of Hiatt’s songs that have been recorded by other artists. In my view, one of the highest honors you can pay a songwriter is to record one his songs. If that’s true, Hiatt has been honored many, many, many times.

A list of some of the artists who have covered Hiatt’s songs includes Patty Griffin, Buddy & Julie Miller, Ronnie Milsap, Jeff Healey, Bonnie Raitt, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Eric Clapton & B.B. King, Jim Dickenson, Chuck Prophet, Suzy Bogguss, Ry Cooder, Kenny Rogers, Delbert McClinton, Joe Cocker, Emmylou Harris, Conway Twitty, Maria Muldour, Sam Bush, Carl Perkins, Aaron Neville, Willie Nelson, Chris Smither, Gregg Allman, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, Three Dog Night, George Thorogood, The Wailin’ Jennys, Steve Earle, Asleep at the Wheel, Joan Baez, David Crosby, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Kevin Welch, Linda Ronstadt, Buddy Guy… even Paula Abdul. Pop, blues, country, folk, rock, punk, bluegrass… artists from all genres and backgrounds have found something in the music of John Hiatt.

John Hiatt is certainly one of my favorites, and no one is more deserving of this honor than he. Hiatt joins past recipiants Billy Joe Shaver, John Prine, Cowboy Jack Clement, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, and Willie Nelson as winners of the award.

Below, you’ll find one track from Hiatt himself… the title track from his 2000 release Crossing Muddy Waters… and a few Hiatt songs performed by other artists.

John Hiatt: Crossing Muddy Waters (Buy Album)
Rosanne Cash: The Way We Make a Broken Heart (Buy Album)
Rodney Crowell: She Loves the Jerk (Buy Album)
Bonnie Raitt: Thing Called Love (Buy Album)
Patty Griffin: Take it Down (Buy Album)
Buddy & Julie Miller: Paper Thin (Buy Album)
Rosanne Cash: Pink Bedroom (Buy Album)

John Hiatt @ The Shed: Maryville, TN 7/12/08

Posted in Doug Lancio, John Hiatt on July 14, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

John Hiatt reminisces about days gone by on his new CD Same Old Man

“Old Days are coming back to me.
I don’t know what was so great about ’em.
I played practically free,
But I had nothing to live up to
And everywhere to be.
Old Days are coming back to me.”

These days, Hiatt has plenty to live up to. Hiatt is one of the most successful and respected songwriters of his generation. “Angel Eyes” from the Jeff Healey Band, “Drive South” from Suzy Bogguss, “The Way We Make a Broken Heart” from Rosanne Cash, “Sure as I’m Sittin’ Here” from Three Dog Night, and “Thing Called Love” from Bonnie Raitt, to name a few, all came from Hiatt’s pen. This September, he will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting from the Americana Music Association at their annual awards show in Nashville. This very week, Same Old Man sits in the top spot on the Americana Album Airplay Chart.

Saturday night, John Hiatt played The Shed in Maryville, TN with his current touring band The Ageless Beauties. Hiatt was on his game as he mixed in several old favorites with a good sampling of tunes from the new album.

The setlist:
The Tiki Bar is Open
Master of Disaster
Drive South
Let’s Give This Love a Try
Cherry Red
Cry Love (slow version)
Walk On
Old Days
On with You
Love You Again
Lift up Every Stone
Crossing Muddy Waters
Paper Thin
Slow Turning
Hurt My Baby
Riding with the King
~set break~
Tennessee Plates
Memphis in the Meantime

The highlight of the show for me was a slowed down version of “Cry Love” featuring beautiful atmospheric guitar work from Doug Lancio. The studio version of “Cry Love” has been my favorite Hiatt song for a while due mostly to a great arrangement built around a crisp chiming guitar riff, a sharp snare backbeat, and flourishes of mandolin. This new version, however, was hardly recognizable to me through most of its extended intro. My wife and I went through a few rounds of, “Is this ‘Cry Love?'” “No it can’t be.” “Wait… is it?” Just before the vocals came in, it became clear. It also became clear that Hiatt was taking a bit of chance by playing around with one of his fan favorite songs, but it paid off. Lancio (more on him later) was a big part of the success, replacing the crisp acoustic strums of the original with layers of swirling electric rhythms. I’d love to find a copy of this version.

In the encore, Hiatt played to the Tennessee crowd by dusting off two more of his classics that deal with the Volunteer State; “Tennessee Plates” and “Memphis in the Meantime.” The latter song included a sing along and some more fancy guitar work from Hiatt and Lancio. A solid end to a great show.

After the show my wife and I got to go backstage for a brief “Meet & Greet” with Hiatt. We got a handshake, an autograph, and a brief conversation. Hiatt was very gracious as he listened to my ramblings about how much I like the new album, the old albums, etc… We thought it was a great way to end the night…

Then, on the way out, we bumped into Doug Lancio. Lancio is a producer/musician who is probably best known for producing Patty Griffin’s 1,000 Kisses album and serving as her lead guitarist for the last several years. He’s also producing Scott Miller’s new project that’s scheduled to be released later this year. We caught Patty Griffin twice on her last tour and became especially impressed with Lancio’s live chops. It was a pleasant surprise to see him with Hiatt’s band Saturday night.

These days, John Hiatt may feel pressured to live up the reputation he has earned through his thirty-plus years in the music business. However, he continues to build on that reputation with each new release and each show he plays. Here are a couple tracks from the new album, Same Old Man and a couple of classics.

John Hiatt: Old Days (Buy the Album)
John Hiatt: On with You (Buy the Album)
John Hiatt: Cry Love (Buy the Album)
John Hiatt: Memphis in the Meantime (Buy the Album)