TAS Rated 4/5 Music, 4/5 Sonics in the September 2021 Issue of The Absolute Sound!
In the midst of a global pandemic, John Hiatt walked into Historic RCA Studio B and opened up a lifetime full of leftover feelings. A half-century ago, Hiatt lived in a ratty, $15-a-week room on Nashville's 16th Avenue, less than a mile away from the RCA and Columbia studios that were the heartbeat of what had come to be known as "Music Row." In the ensuing 50 years, he went from a scuffling young buck to a celebrated grand master of song.
With Leftover Feelings, Hiatt teamed up with multi-grammy winning artist and producer, Jerry Douglas and his band, The Jerry Douglas Band. There's no drummer, yet these grooves are deep and true. And while the up-tempo songs are, as ever, filled with delightful internal rhyme and sly aggression, the Jerry Douglas Band's empathetic musicianship nudges Hiatt to performances that are startlingly vulnerable.
In life, leftover feelings can remain unresolved. Explicated in a place of history, a place of comfort. A sacred place, if you believe the documentation of human expression to be a holy thing. Here are Hiatt and Douglas, creating love songs and road songs, sly songs and hurt songs. Their songs, and now our songs. Leftover feelings that edify and sustain.
After two decades of Hiatt's reliable excellence in songwriting, Leftover Feelings does nothing to break this streak... it's a solid and rewarding set of songs... [that] finds him working with some excellent and simpatico musicians who understand his craft and play into the feel of Hiatt's material.
Working in RCA's Studio B in Nashville, the musicians collectively evoke the feeling of a late-night fireside jam session after most of the revelers have gone to bed. The songs amble out with quiet grace, rarely getting above the tempo of a calm walk, and, owing to the band not using a drummer, doesn't have the volume to smother Hiatt's weathered voice and sly lyrical turns.
Forty-five years into his career, John Hiatt can still release invigorating records and find fresh ways to tweak his robust blues / country blend. On Leftover Feelings he teams up with Jerry Douglas, one of the great dobro players, and Douglas' band for what is mainly an acoustic affair. Following the bluegrass template, no drums are used here, and their absence is hardly noticed, as the group's instrumental precision pulses and flows behind Hiatt's gritty vocals in rich sonic hues... On the record's soulful centerpiece, 'The Music is Hot,' Hiatt eloquently sings, 'Fiddle and steel taking you higher / Past cotton fields and telephone wires / Beyond the church and the gospel choir / And you're gone.' Ever the prolific, master songwriter, Hiatt still imbues his material with emotional depth and the resonant sincerity of a believer.
- 140g Vinyl
- Recorded at Nashville's legendary RCA Studio B
- Produced by Jerry Douglas
- Long Black Electric Cadillac
- Mississippi Phone Booth
- The Music Is Hot
- All The Lilacs In Ohio
- I'm In Asheville
- Light Of The Burning Sun
- Little Goodnight
- Buddy Boy
- Changes In My Mind
- Keen Rambler
- Sweet Dream