“Another display of talent with capital letters, another handful of songs where you can find comfort and accommodation”
John Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas Band
NEW WEST, 2021
Text: MANEL BARN.
There are those who sell more tickets and more records and those who occupy more space in the specialized press and also in the non-specialized press. Names like Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty or the late Tom Petty have presided over the front pages of classic American rock for decades. Even guys of such artistic value as John Mellencamp or Steve Earle have had a hard time earning a privileged spot among the top rankings. And let’s not go to Elliott Murphy, Chris Knight, Willie Nile and so many others. We would enter a loop of preferences and arguments for and against which it would be very difficult to get out or draw clear conclusions. At the end of the day, everything goes according to the color with which you look at it, with the tastes of each one, and in the face of that – and the capricious and fickle criteria of the majority public – there is nothing to do.
John Hiatt is a shadow giant, admired with devotion by his fellow professionals and adored with reverence by his followers. Master of a way of understanding music that is becoming more distant and anachronistic in these dizzying times that run today. An artisan of the song, an expert in unraveling feelings and in describing emotions through the notes and lyrics of his compositions, one of those musicians who have the little ability to strike a chord with his songs. Proof of this is the respect and the utmost attention with which the audience followed his performance at the Segovian Huercasa Country Festival 2018. The emotion took over the atmosphere and when jewels such as “Have a little faith on me”, “Georgia rae” or “ Feels like rain ”sounded under the starry sky of Riaza, tears came from many eyes and the silence could be felt with the hands. A poet who gave us an unforgettable night; one more night to keep with his records.
And he does not live on income, nor does he know or want to. Those glorious songs that we mentioned earlier are not the only winning tricks with which he makes his fans happy every time he includes them in the repertoire. Each recording is one more step in a practically immaculate trajectory, only with its production in this century would it deserve to go down in history. So it is no surprise to say that right from the start, that this Leftover feelings It is a great album like a cathedral. Another display of talent with capital letters, another handful of songs where to find comfort and accommodation in these unfortunate times of isolation that we have had to live. And that its appearance coincides in time with the bright hope that science has granted us only revalues the therapeutic effect and the power of music on our state of mind.
It was recorded in the middle of the pandemic in the historic RCA Studio B with the wizard of everything that takes strings, Jerry Douglas, and his band. With a mainly acoustic sound they deliver an album with deep musical and emotional roots. The chemistry between the two is instantaneous, they complement each other perfectly, carefully fitting Douglas’s more traditional line-up with Hiatt’s rock background to create soundscapes in which John’s lyrics draw introspective stories that reach the heartbreak and intimate confession of “Light of the burning sun”, where with a disarming simplicity he exorcises the suicide of his older brother and the subsequent disintegration of his family structure. Verses like “My father yelled no! and it hit the wall / It shook the foundations of the house and shook the lives of all of us »freeze the blood in the veins.
He has also dedicated space to pay tribute to his idols. In the beautiful “Music is hot” he recalls Waylon Jennings recording in that same studio and gives us, with the apparent simplicity of the goldsmith, wonders such as “I’m in Asheville”, “Buddy boy”, “Sweet dream” or the delicate “Changes in my mind”. An album to enjoy, listening with headphones sliding between its grooves, slowly watching the evening fall and savoring a good spirit. Those little moments that music gives us and that are what we will carry in our luggage when we leave the building. Thank you, Mr. Hiatt.
Previous record review: Undergrowth, by The Kleejoss Band.