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Review: 'HIATT, JOHN'
'The Eclipse Sessions'   

-  Label: 'New West Records'
-  Genre: 'Blues' -  Release Date: '12th October 2018'

Our Rating:
Impressively, this is the 23rd studio album from a 66-year-old "Grammy nominated legend" who has his own star on Nashville’s Walk of Fame.

It's Hiatt's first new album in four years and he sounds a little weary on the closing track, Robber’s Highway, with lines about facing up to death that also hint at a writer's block: “I had words, chords and strings / now I don’t have any of these things”.   

However, while in the single Over The Hill he admits to being "long in the tooth", he leaves the listener in no doubt that there's life in the old dog yet. He defiantly affirms that he remains curious about the world: "There's still a few peaks and valleys I haven't seen".

And there is certainly nothing tired or flat about the eleven songs of an album whose title stems from a solar eclipse that occurred during the recording sessions.

Hiatt places 'The Eclipse Sessions' beside 1987’s 'Bring the Family', and 2000’s 'Crossing Muddy Waters' saying “The three albums all have a vibe to them that was unexpected. I didn’t know where I was going when I started out on any of them. And each one wound up being a pleasant surprise”.

It was produced by Kevin McKendree and the driving momentum is thanks to Hiatt’s longtime drummer Kenneth Blevins and bassist Patrick O’Hearn, as well as to McKendree’s 17-year old son, Yate, who also engineered.

His PR team get all alliterative when summing up the man, describing his bluesy music as "rugged and rootsy" and his lyrics as "wise and wry".

There's no mistaking that this a singer in his twilight years but, as with Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash, the voice of experience is utilized to the best effect. Although Hiatt confesses to being a Poor Imitation Of God, there's no sense of regret about the human frailties that come with aging.

In other words, it's not dark yet!

John Hiatt's website
  author: Martin Raybould

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HIATT, JOHN - The Eclipse Sessions
HIATT, JOHN - The Eclipse Sessions