John Hiatt: The Open Road (New West)

 |   |  1 min read

John Hiatt: Haulin'
John Hiatt: The Open Road (New West)

For my money John Hiatt never sounds better than when he gets a rocking band behind and sounds a little venomous or angry. The back-porch Hiatt never much appealed to me -- so this, his 19th album, suits me just fine.

With his tight little touring band and at age 57, he (mostly) writes about hitting the highway and some of the songs seem perfectly crafted for top-down driving with a strip of endless highway rolled out ahead.

Titles include Haulin', Like a Freight Train, Homeland, Movin' On, Fireball Roberts and Carry You Back Home. You get the idea? Well not quite, because titles can be deceptive and this isn't flat-tack trucker rock by any means.

The mood cuts back for the chiming guitar of Go Down Swingin'; Like a Freight Train is a slow Elvis-echoed blues; My Baby is in a dirty John Lee Hooker style; and Homeland has a Tex-Mex country twang, a conscience about Native Americans as the original inhabitants and a tune that you'll recognise instantly from somewhere.

Movin' On is a soulful blues over razor-sharp guitar and Fireball Roberts is actually a moody bluesy ballad. And it goes out with a yearning wish to return home.

So there is as much blues and balladry here as there is highway ridin' soundtrack.

But with Hiatt's anxious and tight vocal style, and that whip-crack band, this has a latent energy everywhere -- except when he really lets it off the leash. At that point you wind the window down and push the accelerator just that little bit harder too. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust: Last Night on Earth (Matador)

Lee Ranaldo and the Dust: Last Night on Earth (Matador)

With the indie-rock generation's favourite aunt and uncle – Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth – having separated after more than 25 years of marriage and the band... > Read more

Jonathan Bree: The Primrose Path (Lil' Chief)

Jonathan Bree: The Primrose Path (Lil' Chief)

If we think of "album" in the more traditonal sense of the word -- a collection of photos, memorabilia etc - then this quiet and remarkably honest album by Jonathan Bree (formerly one... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Greg's wife's Kotosoupa Avgolemono (chicken soup with egg and lemon sauce)

Greg's wife's Kotosoupa Avgolemono (chicken soup with egg and lemon sauce)

Given the climate in New Zealand right now this is the recipe we have been awaiting for. This is courtesy of Greg's Greek/Cypriot wife and we are assured is renown as a cure for colds. Even if... > Read more

Scotty's salmon'n'scallop filo gateau with a capsicum dill buerre blanc

Scotty's salmon'n'scallop filo gateau with a capsicum dill buerre blanc

This superb and astonishingly easy recipe comes courtesy of Scotty Newcombe, chef at Lake Brunner Lodge in the South Island of New Zealand. Lake Brunner Lodge is one of those ideal retreats... > Read more