John Hiatt: Mystic Pinball

Album review
John Hiatt: Mystic Pinball

John Hiatt

Mystic Pinball

Label: New West
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

This strong follow-up to last year’s critically acclaimed Dirty Jeans & Mudslide Hymns adds to a string of strong albums by singer/songwriter John Hiatt released during the past decade on the New West label. He kicks off Mystic Pinball with “We’re Alright Now,” a return to the spirit of 1993’s Perfectly Good Guitars, his high-octane homage to the decibel meter, before settling into a mix of contemplative ballads and acoustic numbers. Guitarist Doug Lancio dishes the twang on the swampy “Wood Chopper” (eat your heart out Daniel Lanois) and trades licks with Hiatt on the red-hot, catchy blues stomp “My Business,” replete with Hiatt’s howling chorus. This master songsmith, who penned the eloquent “Have a Little Faith in Me,” soon turns his gaze inward with “I Just Don’t Know What to Say,” “I Know How to Lose You,” and the tender confessional “Blues Can’t Even Find Me.” Few in the pop realm— Nick Lowe is an exception—can write nuanced-yet-groove-laden relationship songs with such finesse. At 60, Hiatt is a man comfortable in his own skin, despite the ricochet pinballing life of a touring musician. This is an emotionally compelling dispatch from one of America’s finest troubadours. 

More Info

  • primary artist, John Hiatt
  • CD

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