The Open Road (4*)

Saturday 31 December 2011

There are any number of under-appreciated singer/songwriters plying their trade out there, and you get some idea of the competition when something like this latest collection of road songs from someone as good as John Hiatt can slip by almost unnoticed, It’s thirty-seven years since Hangin’ Around the Observatory, and nearly twenty since his collaboration with Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe and Jim Keltner in the short-lived Little Village, but here he is still plugging away. The vocals still have their trademark eccentricities, and everything’s played with taste and crisp efficiency. Another minor masterpiece from a writer who deserves wider recognition, but if it hasn’t lobbed on his doorstep in close to four decades you can bet Hiatt isn’t holding his breath waiting for it to happen.

© Ian Hughes 2012