Here To Stay – Best Of 2000-2012

John Hiatt

New West Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


John Hiatt is someone most are familiar with due to the household names that have covered him. Not that Hiatt hasn't produced a number of hits himself and charted several times, it's just that names like Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Jewel and even Iggy Pop have brought greater visible to Hiatt's work. An artist who has been consistently active since the early '70s, this album sticks with the years 2000-2012 and collects pivotal singles, fan favorites from his live show and even an unreleased track for the diehard followers. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Though he's often lumped into the category of Americana, Hiatt is a master of many genres, and this anthology exemplifies that well. Early in the disc, "Lift Up Every Stone" plants him firmly in the area of gospel rock, though not long after that he's nearing hard rock territory with "Everybody Went Low." No stranger to hooks, "My Baby Blue" and "Love's Not Where We Thought We Left It" has him close to pop rock and wouldn't be out of place on Top 40 stations. Conversely, alt-country moments like "Adios To California" and "My Old Friend" sound like they could have inspired aging punks like Chuck Ragan or Tim Barry to unplug and find their inner Nashville. The unreleased song and title track is nearly worth the price of admission alone. With Joe Bonamassa on slide guitar, the album exits with the soulful blues of "Here To Stay," a fitting end from the constantly creative Hiatt.

There are two extremely noteworthy points about this disc. First, that most of these songs were penned while Hiatt was 50+ years old, as he's been extremely prolific in the last decade with six albums of original material. At a time when many of his peers are slowing down, he's actually picking up momentum. Second, all of these tracks are from Hiatt's post-major label period. People don't tend to think of country music stars as having independent spirit, but everything here was recorded for indie powerhouse label New West. An excellent glimpse into the brilliance of Hiatt, the longtime fans already picked this up for the unreleased tune and the need to complete their collections. For the first time listener, well, expect to be a fan by the third or fourth track.

Rating: A-

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