Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Joe Ely, Guy Clark

I saw these four gentlemen perform together last night. Four chairs, four guitars, and them sitting in a row on the stage. Each taking a turn playing their songs. It was an amazing performance. After last night, I want to expose myself to more of John Hiatt's music. He has a really quirky voice and a wry way of looking at the world, plus his guitar playing really impressed me. Can anyone recommend some of his music for me? I would love to get my hands on some of his work on vinyl, but CD/SACD will work as well. It was great to see a show in which everyone on the stage was an equal, each sharing, laughing, and applauding the other's playing. As usual, Lyles voice was wonderful, and Ely and Clark have always been a treat to listen to, with their songs of West Texas. What a great night! 2 1/2 hours of wonderful music making. If this tour makes it to your area, don't miss it.

I really like John Hiatt (and the other artist you saw last night!) Sounds like a great show. BTW, I would pay good money to see that one!

For Hiatt, look no further that his "The Best of John Hiatt". Unlike some "best of" collections, this 1998 Capitol release is very good and is generally well recorded on CD. My favorite cuts on this disk are "Drive South", "Buffalo River Home", "Feels Like Rain (WOW!!)" and "Tennessee Plates". It is a great collection.

Past that, I like the recent "Crossing Muddy Waters" and, of course, many others......

For something different, check the cut-out bins for "Little Village", the "supergroup" album from Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Jim Keltner and Nick Lowe. Two good "Hiatt" cuts on this record are the Island Music Influenced "Do You Want My Job" and the Awesome cut "Don't Think About Her When You're Tying to Drive".

Good stuff......


if Guy Clark piqued your interest and you don't already have it, find a copy of "Old No. 1," his first CD (I think.) There are several songs that other people made famous, L.A. Freeway, Desperados, and guest performances by a lot of good people, Johnny Gimble, Mickey Raphael, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and others.

It's one of the definitive albums of Texas music from the '70's and you can hear the influence of it in later music from a lot of people. Several of the songs are near-perfect images of the place. Maybe it's just nostalgia talking but I don't think he produced any later albums that are as good, though I really like him, particularly live.
Reubent, Hiatt brought the house down with a rendition of "crossing muddy water", and had the place howling with an improv of the lyrics in "Wintertime Blues". Thanks for the tip. I did find a copy of "Bring The Family" in my wife's car CD collection, so maybe we'll give it a spin.

Sfar, Clark is a classic. Great sense of humor, great story teller (his songs bear that out). He seemed to be in a pensive, sad mood last night, but I really enjoyed listening to him again.

Joe Ely was the big surprise to me. I am familiar with his work as he has been around quite a while, but his guitar playing last night was a treat.

from the World Cafe a great radio show produced out of WXPN philadelphia, and syndicated all over. bothe the and websites are rich with ideas for this type and other rock/blues/folk/alt.

Enjoy, Spencer
Hi Slipknot1:

Hiatt's body of work can be a real hit or miss.

Some of his best recent work can be found on an album that John did about four years ago on the Vanguard label entitled, "Crossing Muddy Waters." I feel that this album has some of his most expressive songwriting (What Do We Do Now; Take It Down); as well as some of his best musical performances (Lincoln Town; Only the Song Survives). Of his older albums (1987), "Bring the Family," also features equally strong songwriting and performances (Have a Little Faith In Me). When John is on top of his game, his combination of blues/folk/country/rock is magical. By contrast, I did not care much for his latest release "Beneath This Gruff Exterior," as I found the album to be missing that magic.

I only have CD's, so I do not know from vinyl. "Bring the Family" was recently released on SACD.


Where did you see this... and has anybody seen an other dates scheduled via web sites etc..
I know World Cafe and WXPN (I live in the Phila area), I first got turned on to Hiatt by David Dye.

The "Bring The Family" from my wife's car is a hybrid, so I can listen to the SACD layer on that one. Thanks for the other suggestions!

I saw them at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ
They are playing tonight in Newark, NJ for you Tri-Staters
Next appearance by all four is is not until June at the Telluride Bluegrass festival. check out for more info.
Tops on my list are Bring the Family and Slow Turning followed closely by Crossing Muddy Waters.

I strongly agree with Rar1's comment concerning the hit or miss quality of some of his stuff. Many of the earlier albums (and even some recent ones like Little Head) are actually fairly painful to my ears, but the winners are true gems.
"Bring the Family" is Hiatt's best as far as sonic's go and was released by MoFi on LP and gold CD. Also has some of his best songs and great picking by Ry Cooder in an informal live in the studio set.

IMO his best rock releases are "Riding with the King" (also on MoFi gold CD) and "Warming Up to the Ice Age".

He has several greatest hits, but my favorite is the 2 disk "Anthology", cause it's got a lot of his older songs. Takes you up to "Crossing Muddy Water" which is great and his most acoustic release. Another live in the studio affair.

Anyone heard his latest "Beneath this Gruff Exterior" ? Guess it's another rock one with the Goners. I love Sonnny Landreth, but haven't been too impressed with Hiatt's recent releases with them.
i am leaving in 15 minutes to see them at the New Jersey
Performing Arts Center tonight at 8:00 p.m. i have had these tickets for over a month and can't wait. Tickets are still available so if you have nothing planned on this
freeeeeeezing night try and make it
I'll be there tonight. Now I'm really looking forward to it.

I don't think anyone mentioned "Walk On" which is definitely one of my favorite Hiatt albums. Also, there is (was?) a two disk compilation on Hippo(?) that covered his entire career through "Crossing Muddy Waters."

"Beneath This Gruff Interior" suffers from surprisingly poor sound (surprisingly because it was mastered by Doug Sax). Songs are good, but not among Hiatt's best.

Getting ready to head out . . .
I saw those four guys here in Redwood City last year. A great night of music, including Neil Young being summoned out of the audience to do a song of his own. I thought Hiatt sort of stole the show, though. If you have a chance to catch him with his band, The Goners, don't miss it. He is such a charming, entertaining guy on stage. His lyrics are terrific, and I find I really connect with them during live performances. And The Goners really rock, especially with Sonny Landreth on guitar.

In addition to Slow Turning and Bring the Family, I recommend Stolen Moments, which includes a favorite of mine, Real Fine Love.
John Hiatt's 'Perfectly Good Guitar' will be a good start.
I have got to chime in on this one. I first saw Hiatt in 1988 or'89 while I was in college in Ohio. He was opening for Robert Cray. He had Sonny Landreth on guitar and had just released "Slow Turning" which is one of his best IMO. I had just bought "Bring the family" which is probably my fav. (being a huge Ry Cooder fan as well). I have seen him many times since then but the first is always best somehow. I now live in Austin TX and the other guy's you saw play around town quite often(and are from these parts). If you like those guy's you might also want to check out Robert Earl Keen, James McMurtry, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Rodney Crowell, Willis Alan ramsey.......... and whatever you do don't forget the late great Townes Van Zandt................ I could go on. These are all "local" guys that I love and see play regularly (Austin is pretty damn cool)........ anyway my two cents.
I agree 100% w/ davebachmann (above):

Bring the Family
Slow Turning
Crossing Muddy Water

I can't believe nobody mentioned The Tiki Bar is Open.
Ditto on Bring the Family and Slow Turning. A few years ago there was a special on TV, I believe it was VH1, which paired John Hiatt & Matthew Sweet that was quite hot.

Guy Clark, Old No. 1 still pleases every time.
Joe Ely's, Live at Liberty Lunch.
Hiatt is trial and error, and Guy Clark I know but not well enough to comment on.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Lots of new things to explore.
For Joe Ely fans the Flatlanders album "Now Again" is classic. Highly recommended.
Well, its been mentioned a few times but Slow Turning and Bring the Family are highly recommended. The SACD version is definitely a cut above the original CD issue and if you can find the Mobile Fidelity CD of Slow Turning, the sonics are also quite a bit better than the regular CD release.