Written by Jim Bille

DSC_8332John Hiatt and the Goners made a recent appearance at the House of Blues in Houston on the occasion of their 30 year anniversary of the release of Slow Turning. Although the band has not recorded consistently together some of Hiatt’s most well known work over the past three decades has been performed with this band.

Hiatt’s musical catalog is extensive, twenty plus albums to date, and the Slow Turning album may be one of his more recognizable recordings. Hiatt himself did have a minor hit with the title song but most of the album has been either covered by various artists or featured in movies like Thelma and Louise, The Rookie and Raising Helen. Musicians like Buddy Guy, Susy Bogguss and Emmy Lou Harris have all recorded numbers from the Slow Turning album for their own projects as well.

Opening the show, Hiatt was armed with his vintage Gibson LG2 acoustic guitar and treated the House of Blues fans to an eight or so song solo set that featured many of his most memorable tunes. “Master of Disaster”, “Crossing Muddy Waters”, “Real Fine Love”, “Cry Love” and a couple of new songs, “All the way to the River” and “Aces up Your Sleeve” were featured and performed flawlessly.

After a short break Hiatt returned to the stage with The Goners featuring guitar wizard Sonny Landreth, David Ranson on bass and Kenneth Blevins on drums and proceeded to play their entire 1988 release Slow Turning.

DSC_8322With The Goners in place for the second half of the show, Hiatt proceeded to guide the band through the twelve song album in the exact order as it was released. Hiatt jokingly mentioned after performing side one of the album that it was time to flip the record over but before doing so the band went on to play “The Tiki Bar is Open” for the exuberant crowd.The balance of the show consisted of the second side of Slow Turning starting off with “Ride Along” and finishing up with “Feels Like Rain”.

The two encore numbers  were “Congo Square”, a Sonny Landreth song that featured Landreth’s extraordinary spider-like finger picking and “Memphis in the Meantime” another John Hiatt classic.

Hiatt’s onstage affability and crowd interaction as well as excellent musicianship during this performance made for more than just a great show. This evening was a showcase of timeless songwriting from one of the best in the business.

I’ll be looking for John Hiatt the next time he comes through town and you should be too.