A conversation with John Hiatt

John Hiatt web crop
John Hiatt's latest album is 'The Eclipse Sessions.' (David McClister)
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Interview with John Hiatt
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While in Nashville back in September, I met singer-songwriter John Hiatt at Black River Entertainment for a conversation about his latest album, The Eclipse Sessions.

We did a bit of reminiscing, too, becuase it was roughly 30 years ago that I was working at a cable radio station — quite a concept — when I interviewed John Hiatt during the Slow Turning tour. Hiatt autographed my copy of Slow Turning on vinyl — with a ball-point pen that didn't work very well. I still have that record.

Use the audio player above to listen to the conversation, and read highlights below.

Interview Highlights

On his memories of playing shows at the Minnesota State Fair in the '90s

I ate more fried things on a stick than I ever imagined could be possible. But we had so much fun, it was such a great gig.

Hiatt's memories of playing in Minnesota

I remember I played a little club up there, one of my first gigs, it was in the '70s. [The venue] was what was left of the folk circuit … the college acts kind of circuits. I've been coming up to Minnesota since the '70s. From Bring the Family on, we started getting an audience up there. I love playing Minneapolis. It's always great fun.

On what he things of touring

I enjoy playing. The travel is harder and harder. I'm 66 years old, so trying to sleep on a bus for 500 miles overnight is kind of rough. And hotels are just a box with a bed in it. I got over hotel rooms a long time ago. I kind of just stay on the bus until we get a day off and get a hotel room. The wear and tear gets harder, but the music is the payoff. It's still the best job in the world.

On the meaning of his album title, The Eclipse Sessions

We made it last year during the eclipse, August 2017. … It was an amazing thing. We cut three songs that actual day, the 21st of August, and took a break and sat out and watched it. It was an amazing experience. Nashville was real close to the best, longest view of it. It went on for like two minutes and 20 seconds, and it got dark. And all the animals were confused; the birds were circling up in the sky and the deer were running to and fro. They thought it was nighttime but they knew it wasn't at the same time, so they were confused. But you had this sense that nobody was on their cellphone, nobody was on Facebook. So it kind of had a harmonic resonance about it. It was kind of nice.

On the music career of his daughter, Lilly Hiatt

She's a lifer, I can tell, because she won't stop. And it won't matter to her if she plays at the Station Inn or Bridgestone Arena. She'll keep playing.

On music in the era of streaming media

I don't think about it. Music always wins out in the end. Music is always good. And music always speaks to people. Music will always be safe.

External Links

John Hiatt - official site

Lilly Hiatt - official site

2 Photos

  • John Hiatt, 'The Eclipse Sessions'
    John Hiatt, 'The Eclipse Sessions' (New West Records)
  • Lilly Hiatt
    Lilly Hiatt's album 'Trinity Lane' is out now via New West Records. (Alysse Gafkjen)

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