Review Revue: John Hiatt - Bring the Family

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July. I don’t know what your soundtrack was for your Independence Day festivities, but sometimes the best thing to listen to on a backyard bbq kind of holiday like this one, fueled as it is by 236 years of nostalgia, is an old family favorite from an underrated American songwriter like John Hiatt. If you’ve heard of him, this album was likely the way he wormed his way into his consciousness, and if you haven’t heard of him, then I can pretty much guarantee you’ve heard another version of a song from this album, Bonnie Raitt’s huge 1989 single “Thing Called Love,” which includes the excellent line “I ain’t no porcupine/take off your kid gloves,” raising the question: will kid gloves really be any help in handling a porcupine? (Another tune, “Have a Little Faith in Me,” has been covered a bajillion times, including a beautiful instrumental version by local legend and personal favorite Bill Frisell.)

Regardless of the utility of kid gloves in porcupine-handling, John Hiatt is without a doubt one of the many excellent things to come out of this great nation of ours, somehow managing to woo Nashville pros and Seattle college radio DJs alike. He has a relatively new album out, 2011′s Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns, and next month he celebrates his 60th birthday - show your respect!


“He’s back for one more round. [Twenty-five years later... he still seems to be back, with no more than three years between albums since then.] Fans will not be disappointed, I think. Variety of moods. I like the ballady numbers best.”

“Some nice slide guitar. This is quite nice.”

“His most complete LP to date. And it features Ry Cooder and Nick Lowe.”

“Excellent.”

“Oh, man... I could pound back 4 tequila straightshots then cry on the bar all night to these tunes... yayess.”

“H? Gimme a break! Down.”

“Look, Bill. Look at the dot. See the blue one? Look out!”

“It’s red now, beav.” [I don't know what this exchange means. Blue dots?]

“Never been a big fan, but this is nearly his best.”

“Sounds like John Cougar.”

“Marsh, this is just more new age claptrap. Cheese.”

“Have a Little Faith in Me. Listen to it. There’s more hiss in it than . . . well I don’t know. Reason #2 for a CD player.”

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