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John Hiatt: Slow Turning

John Hiatt
Slow Turning
(A&M Records)

The first time through you’re not gonna find too much fault with John Hiatt’s Slow Turning. Originally released in 1998, this 9th album from the singer/songwriter/guitarist/ gave Hiatt his big hit, the title track. The rest of the 11 tracks are just as masterful little country/ rock commercial ditties.

There is the upbeat opener and semi-rocker, “Drive South,” then the slip and slide wry lyrics to “Trudy And Dave,” (that’s the unsung hero of the early Eagles, Bernie Leadon on banjo). Even when Hiatt gets slow and deliberate, like on “Icy Blue Heart,” he doesn’t mince words. Like most great country songwriters (Kristofferson, Nelson, Haggard) he has an economy with words and production that you cannot ignore. It’s no wonder so many people cover Hiatt.

We get lots of Hiatt rockin’ here. Sonny Landreth manages electric pull-offs on the real mover, “It’ll Come To You,” and then the perfect low stompin’ “Paper Thin.”

The gospel, electric-piano ballad “Is Anybody There,” comes just before the end, with “Feels Like Rain,” with it’s weird echo-gated electric guitar managing another gospel turn for Hiatt. Again Landreth manages some sweet turns too.

This is one of those rare albums where there are no fillers and no bad tunes, they are all gems, perfectly written and rendered, sweet sounding.

If you don’t have John Hiatt’s Slow Turning don’t be slow. Pick it up now!

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