John Hiatt & the Combo

Ace songwriter John Hiatt has been cranking out memorable songs and great albums so consistently for so long (more than 30 years), it's almost too easy to take him for granted. But then a new set of tunes snares you with rootsy charms, combining with the realization that Hiatt still floats a bit under the radar despite being covered by a vast swath of artists ranging from Ronnie Milsap and Three Dog Night to Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, and Iggy Pop. Hiatt's latest collection, Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns, sports a car tune and a train tune, but the overall feel is a kind of smoldering angst. Most songs are saturated with a sense that things just ain't right ("I've been here before but I don't know this place/I've been here with you but I can't see your face"), simmering with unsettling restlessness, then occasionally flaring up as in the seething "Damn This Town." Hiatt's soulful howl is in fine shape throughout, and as usual the Combo (drummer Kenny Blevins, guitarist Doug Lancio, bassist Patrick O'Hearn) nails the wiry mix of rock, country and blues.
Mon., Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m., 2011

 
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