Sometimes it amazes me how long I’ve been listening to music that John Hiatt either wrote for others, or for himself. I think the first time I ever heard something written by John was when I would listen to my Three Dog Night, Hard Labor album back in 1974. He was in good company there, ‘T.D.N.’ always chose some great songwriters, Hoyt Axton, Laura Nyro, Randy Newman etc.
I also heard some of his songs when listening to my dear Rosanne Cash albums. Her covers of tunes like “Pink Bedroom” and “The Way We Make a Broken Heart” were two of his best and two of her best.
Sure, I knew who he was, then I heard Bring the Family, Slow Turning, and Little Village and I was a big fan, right about the same time that everyone else was too.
The days of John recording for the big major labels are about 10 years or so gone by now. Unlike others, this is by his choosing. His numbers are there for the majors to still want him. He just doesn’t really need them at this point. There are way too many ways to sell music now without needing them to insure your goods are in the brick and mortar buildings. Do things your way young man.
John’s with New West Records. By all means, they are still considered an Independent label, but they’re a major among the Indies. They still think like an Indie as far as the way they treat their roster, and that’s good, and oh yeah, that roster is pretty good as well.
Who’s on New West you ask? Taking a quick glance, you’d see names like Steve Earle, Old 97’s, Kris Kristofferson, Delbert McClinton, Dwight Yoakam, Tom Morello, Wild Moccasins, The Flatlanders, Ian Hunter, Ray Davies, Drive By Truckers, Jason Isbell, even Alice Cooper and many, many others. This is the place to be in 2011.
You know what you’re going to get with John’s “Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns” and I like that. I’ll listen to some acts and want to be surprised, with John, I want well written, weather worn sounding songs that will still ring true 37 years from now, just like that old Three Dog Night song.
Here he gives us gems like the opener “Damn This Town,” (someone played cards with the wrong chap.) “All The Way Under” tells us not to give up, he’s been there, you’ve been there, and I’ve been there.
I really dig “Detroit Made.” It takes me back to Slow Turning’s ”Tennessee Plates.” Who doesn’t like a love-my-car tune?
The album concludes with a lovely ballad titled, “When New York Had Her Heart Broke.” Simply stated, John does our great city proud.
This is a highly recommended look, once again, into the brilliant songwriting mind of Mr. John Hiatt. This is the place to be in 2011.
– Larry Carta
- “Damn This Town” – 4:52
- “’til I Get My Lovin’ Back” – 3:27
- “I Love That Girl” – 4:19
- “All the Way Under” – 3:49
- “Don’t Wanna Leave You Now” – 5:42
- “Detroit Made” – 3:52
- “Hold On for Your Love” – 6:21
- “Train to Birmingham” – 3:37
- “Down Around My Place” – 5:59
- “Adios to California” – 3:46
- “When New York Had Her Heart Broke” – 5:08
- John Hiatt – Guitar), Vocals
- Patrick O’Hearn – Bass
- Arlan Schierbaum – Keyboards
- Reese Wynans – Organ
- Kenneth Blevins – Drums, Percussion
- Doug Henthorn – Background Vocals