John Hiatt with the Jerry Douglas Band “Leftover Feelings”

New West Records, 2021

Hiatt and Douglas draw upon the past to create a timeless set of songs, highlighting the strength of their musical partnership.

Leftover Feelings‘ is John Hiatt’s 25th studio album and takes him full circle from his earliest days as a musician in Nashville where he was living in 1970 returning to record this album in the Historic RCA Studio B.  Hiatt still lives nearby, close to Jerry Douglas with whom he recorded this album with Douglas’ band.  The music sounds organic and songs unfold naturally and evoke the ghosts of musicians from the golden days of the music row.  Hiatt’s skills as a songwriter are evident across ‘Leftover Feelings‘ and the addition of Jerry Douglas and the rest of his band providing the necessary deft musical colours to highlight his abilities.

Hiatt’s song ‘Long Black Electric Cadillac‘ turns the usual road trip, gravel under the wheels, heading out to see your loved one on its head with the focus of the song being an electric car.  As Hiatt sings “heading out west just to see you baby only have to stop twice along the way… once to get my groceries and one time to charge up my engine” he has surely written one of the first or best songs about the joys of an electric car.  Hiatt uses the phone booth (another disappearing relic) on ‘Mississippi Phone Booth’ to sing about running out of time with the person on the other end as he begs them “please don’t hang up on me this time.”

‘All the lilacs in Ohio‘ stands out amongst the mix of ballads and blues songs which make up the album and is the one you are most likely to find yourself humming the next day.  Hiatt evokes a simpler time capturing the mood of Spring with Douglas’ accompaniment and Hiatt’s vocals sounding weathered but joyful.  Hiatt demonstrates his range of emotional depth on ”Light of the Burning Sun’ singing about his elder brother’s suicide and the impact on Hiatt and his family.  The song is a beautiful exploration of grief and tragedy presented honestly and without cliche. Although Hiatt could easily rest on his laurels with his well-respected musical background he has put together a collection of songs that demonstrate that his most recent songs stand up well against his earlier releases.

7/10
7/10

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