John Hiatt and Steve Earle rank among America's finest songwriters. Hiatt has written plenty of standards — "A Thing Called Love," "Feels Like Rain," "Have a Little Faith in Me," "Memphis in the Meantime," for starters — and has been covered by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Iggy Pop, and Eric Clapton. On his latest, Mystic Pinball, Hiatt (pictured) spins a new assortment of clever tales that address the human condition with rare eloquence and insight ("We're Alright Now"), grapple with ornery lovers ("Bite Marks"), and rival the Coen brothers' dark, wicked humor on the Fargo-esque "Wood Chipper." Steve Earle also roams into bluegrass and folk, the latter especially lately as he paid tribute to mentor Townes Van Zandt and played a philosophical New Orleans street busker on Tremé. Earle's new one, The Low Highway, is a mixed but impressive bag.
Thu., Aug. 1, 7:30 p.m., 2013