Wednesday, October 17, 2012

John Hiatt is Cool

As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary. Ernest Hemingway


Without heroes, we are all plain people and don't know how far we can go. Bernard Malamud

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I've had an exciting week and it just keeps getting better. I have been in Nashville filming a video for my song "I'm Through". My long time friend, Ray Iddings (and his cameraman, Joey), are really working far above and beyond to be sure this turns out great. I have seen some of the raw unedited footage and it's amazing. I can't wait to release it. 
We are hoping to do a couple quicker, less labor intensive videos for "If Alabama Is Not Good Enough For You", and "Bird on A Powerline" today.
Because of this fact this blog post probably won't be too terribly long.
But I wanted to make sure to keep you guys and girls abreast of what's going on. 
During my time in Nashville I have also been able to visit some of my great musician friends. 
Last night I did some recording in Les Hall's studio and then we did a live concert from his studio (via the technological magic that it StageIt.com). After that we went and listened to a little live music courtesy of Les' friend, Larry. Les and I sat in and played a couple each. It was a good time. 
But now I must turn my sights to today and tomorrow.
As I said above, today will be spent filming. I've done a bunch of filming over the years but I can say that this is something altogether different than any of that. This is a professional video shoot with professional film crew and producer. And the difference is apparent.
So in addition to owing Ray big time for helping me make a quality video, I also feel even more endebted to him because he is allowing me to become comfortable in a professional video shoot environnment.  He is giving me a gift (a quality video which will help me in many ways), but he is also helping me attain a new skill. 
For that I can't thank Ray enough.
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Well before I headed up to Nashville late Saturday night, I got a phone call about a possible opening gig this Thursday. 
I knew I had video shoot obligations but we were supposed to be done that day anyway. I asked, "Who is the opening gig, opening up FOR?"
I hear, "John Hiatt"
I almost tripped over my tongue trying spit out "Absolutely, Of course, What Do I need to Do?, Hell Yeah, Yes" all at once. 
John Hiatt is an icon.
As most of you know, I not only AM a songwriter, but I am a huge lover of songwriting. If I didn't write songs I feel like I would still study them and admire them for a hobby. Song craft is the art that speaks to me most vividly. I therefore adore it.
And John Hiatt is one of the absolute masters of song craft.
I can't remember when I first heard John Hiatt. It kind of just seems like his songs have always been around. 
As I have grown older and more addicted to song writing, I notice that I admire John more and more. There are many reasons for this.
First and foremost, I love John Hiatt's songs. He is one of the all time best. If you don't have a John Hiatt song you love I believe it is because you haven't heard enough of them. They are remarkably great (and with the quality of songs on his new album he shows no sign of stopping)
I love his songs.
I also love the fact that John is cool. That may be a vague statement, but it carries weight with me. 
I was speaking with Ray yesterday about folks that have this "coolness". People like Billy Gibbons, Mark Knopfler, Sting, ....and John Hiatt.
Of course not all songs created by these artists are great. I know weak songs by each one. HOWEVER I try to listen to everything these artists put out because they just understand...cool.
Another of John's attributes is his ability to remain partially in the shadows (which contributes to his coolness also). I have been a fan of John's for years and yet I still find songs I thought were written by other writers but were actually written by John. 
It was a few years after "Angel Eyes" was a huge hit that I realized it was penned by Hiatt. But my biggest Hiatt surprise was finding out that he wrote "Feels Like Rain". I love Buddy Guy. I have seen him a few times and that was the song that always caught my ear. After hearing it over and over I look it up. Written by John Hiatt.
Another reason I love John Hiatt, is the fact that he is very competent at singing and playing guitar. This allows him to perform with all the celebrities that record and play his songs live. 
And because John has one of the most unique and distinctive voices on Earth, it is always very evident when John Hiatt is on a track.
So to sum it up: John writes amazing tunes (so many that I'm still finding some songs that I have loved for years were unbeknownst to me , written by John), Even on his less than stellar tunes there is a prevalent coolness that makes you dig those too. He has more than enough skill to be the super star front man but tends to be the support for the superstars, when he does take center stage he has such a signature sound that it seems to have come from outer space.

That's a pretty strong resume.
I hadn't put it into these words until now but I can say, "John Hiatt is one of my heroes".
As the Hemingway quote notes, as we get older it gets harder to have heroes. But I can safely say Hiatt is a hero to me.
Everything I have ever hoped to do as a song writer, John has done. 
So it is with this in mind that I anxiously look forward to tomorrow's show. 
Tomorrow night I will not only be honored to share the stage with one of my heroes, but I will be inspired and motivated to push myself even further as a songwriter. 


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ALL the show details can be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/376179395796382/






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