It’s awards season and a staple part of many award ceremonies is one artist guesting with another and the end of show sing along. At the Americana Music Association’s Americanafest in 2014 the task of leading the massed ranks fell to Ry Cooder. The version of ‘Get Rhythm’ that resulted is too awful to even think about sharing. Fortunately, Cooder was invited back the following year as part of the band backing John Hiatt on ‘Long Time Comin’ which was up for song of the year. ‘Turtles All The Way Down’ by Sturgill Simpson was the winner of that category, but after hearing this version of Hiatt’s song the judges must have had second thoughts. Cooder’s delicate slide solo complements Hiatt’s vocal delivery perfectly. Third guitarist Buddy Miller and Hiatt seem happy to just nod along in appreciation.
‘Long Time Comin‘ had originally appeared on Hiatt’s 2014 album ‘Terms of My Surrender’, an album that my colleague Kimberley Bright included in her list of Hiatt’s essential albums saying that it showed him “surrendering to an imperfect world, aging, and life’s inevitable compromises”. There’s a certain time of life when musings on life, the universe and everything start to become important and Hiatt’s words here are the ideal soundtrack for that. ‘Terms of my Surrender’ was a move towards a more organic blues-based sound that works supremely well with his conversational singing style. As the album that convinced me of John Hiatt’s virtues I can only recommend it. It deserved its numerous Grammy, and other award nominations.
This is the best of several videos to be found online, and the one that shows off Cooder’s contribution to greatest effect.