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John Hiatt

• John Hiatt & The Goners

A classic collision of brilliant material and ferocious playing. The pretenders to Hiatt's throne are singing in the cloud of dust he and the Goners leave behind.

It's been a long time since I listened to a Hiatt record, guess I burned out on the fantastic Bring the Family. Always love his songs, his singing kinda wears me out. But most people don't feel like that, it's a small disclaimer for not covering more of his (no doubt) great records.

Sonny Landreth, get the hell outta here. He's at his smokinest in this setup, the Goners are his guys, and here he doesn't have to be the front man. Hiatt douses the joint with kerosene and Landreth steps up and torches it to the ground. Dave Ransom and Kenny Blevins are as good a rhythm section as can be found on this hot rock, they run like a high performance engine on a country road.

I always think it's interesting to see how a record starts. This self-effacing master of songcraft starts this one with a groove that hits you right in the pelvis and the line "Well I do my best thinking sitting on my ass." Oh, so that's how it's gonna be, I said to myself, think I'll turn this mess up.

For those that care, nobody demonstrates how great roots songs are built better than John Hiatt. It's about getting your heart and your brain in the same conversation, knowing what's true and what you want to say about it.

It takes every drop of energy just to run my brain
Took a long time to learn that it's just a waiting game
Some people call it depression, I call it a song
Don't worry about me, I'm not going to be around all that long

John and the Goners had just gotten off a couple of months on the road, and when it was all oiled up, they went in and tracked this live in the studio in 8 days. And that's just how it sounds--muscular, in touch, and totally in the pocket, it's all there. This is the shit. Buy it, here. • FG

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