John Hiatt has been writing classic songs for longer than most of the current crop of tunesmiths have been alive and, we're pleased to say, it would appear that he's in no rush to slow down now. Mystic Pinball, his 21st solo album in nearly 40 years of recording, is his third consecutive collection revealing a grittier, grungier roots/rock agenda as he once again taps Kevin “Caveman” Shirley (The Black Crowes), the producer who helped bring a rough and ragged quality to Hiatt's 2011 Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns. Hiatt's way with songs that can be both wittily smart and uncannily direct is legendary, nabbing Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement in Songwriting Award in 2008. But Hiatt's Pinball is as much a musician's album as a songbook and the three aces in Hiatt's hand are his touring (and recording) band The Combo: Kenny Blevins on drums, Patrick O'Hearn on bass and Doug Lancio on guitars. Led by the howling Hiatt, the outfit rumbles and kicks like an engine itching for full throttle, turning Hiatt's bluesy, alt-country songs into stomping swamp-rock save for a few folksy respites like the low-keyed lament "Blues Can't Even Find Me."
John Hiatt - "We're Alright Now" (from Mystic Pinball)
John Hiatt - "Blues Can't Even Find Me" (from Mystic Pinball)