Happy 58th birthday, John Hiatt.
Great, great songwriter and live performer; a genuine American voice who always surrounds himself with outstanding musicians, from Sonny Landreth to the North Mississippi All-Stars. I've seen him play many times in both New York and London over the last couple of decades - perhaps most notably at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on a double-bill with Robert Cray, but there was also a wonderfully intimate gig at the Shepherd's Bush Empire on the Little Head tour.
There was recently an excellent contest on No Depression - one of those ultimately futile quests to decide Hiatt's "best" song (actually, the contest was to come up with the song that was most meaningful to you). Here's what I wrote:
"It's impossible to choose one. And all of the songs already mentioned would stand as fine representations of the best of a brilliant catalog. But I'm going to choose a song I don't think John ever recorded and I only heard him play once. In November, 2001, John gave a great show at the Town Hall in midtown Manhattan, as part of the Tiki Bar tour.
The city was still putting itself back together after 9/11 and he sang an amazing song called "New York Had Her Heart Broke". It was a really moving moment. I've seen him many times, but that's the song that sticks with me."
I've never been able to find a recorded version of that song, but the lyrics are here and to my knowledge it only appears on one Hiatt bootleg.
On the off-chance that anyone has a copy of the song or of that New York show, please get in touch?
Today's also Robert Plant's 62nd birthday. Hopefully we'll get a chance to see his Band of Joy project with Buddy Miller and Darrell Scott on a more extensive tour in the next few months.
and in case you forget what real rock and roll sounds like...
Shocking and sad scenes last night in Saratoga, CA at a Swell Season show. Sympathy and support to anyone involved or affected.