Music Blog

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Just a quick rave on the John Hiatt/Lyle Lovett show Friday night. Off the top of my head, I’d say Philly’s Kimmel Center is the second best venue in which I’ve seen a show (Joe Henry at Lincoln Center–playing in front of a huge window with a New York City backdrop–was tops).

Hiatt and Lovett make for a musical odd couple. Lovett’s famously polite, well-mannered, and always impeccably dressed. Hiatt’s gruff and surly. Lovett’s articulate and witty. Hiatt, folksy and wry. They complement one another well. I’d never really pictured them touring together, but it makes some sense. Both are masterful storytellers, fantastic musicians, and they’re probably the two most prolific Americana singer-songwriters of the last quarter century. Case in point: We overheard one dimwit say at a bar after the show that he felt ripped off because, “it seems like those guys are just cover artists, singing other people’s songs.” Which is a little like the guy who says he doesn’t like Shakespeare because it’s full of cliches. Hiatt and Lovett wrote all the songs they played Friday night (with one exception, if memory serves). If you’re not a regular fan of either, the songs probably sounded familiar because other people cover them, particularly Hiatt, whose songs have been made hits by Emmylou Harris, Eric Clapton and B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Healy, and Bob Dylan.

Anyway, for most of the show the two sat next to one another with acoustic guitars and traded songs and between-songs banter–with a couple of duets thrown in.

I heard my favorite Lyle Lovett song, and my favorite John Hiatt song, so I left happy.

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11 Responses to “Music Blog”

  1. #1 |  TomMil | 


    I don’t know if you are familiar with Todd Snider. Ive noticed that our musical tastes seem somewhat familiar. This is him telling a great story and doing a cover of a John Hiatt tune.

    and here’s an example of his wonderful songwriting ability

    let me know what ya think.

  2. #2 |  TomMil | 

    edit; I’ve noticed that our musical tastes seem somewhat similar.

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    I saw Hiatt and Lovett on Letterman the other night- I would love to see just the two of them with guitars. I didn’t care much for Hiatt’s most recent band, but Lyle Lovett’s bands are always fantastic.

    I couldn’t narrow either guy down to one favorite song.

    Thanks for the review- I hope they come to St. Louis (or, at least somewhere close).

  4. #4 |  Kevin B. O'Reilly | 

    It’s Eric Clapton, no “k.” And while Bob Dylan has covered Hiatt, it’s wrong to say (as is implied above) that Dylan’s had a hit with any Hiatt song unless you’re stretching the term beyond all useful definition.

  5. #5 |  johnbpt | 

    Damn, I’m so jealous. Have seen them both before, but never together. Throw in Tom Waits and/or Robert Earl Keene and I could die and go to heaven or wherever I’m bound.

  6. #6 |  B | 

    How did you enjoy Philly apart from the show?

  7. #7 |  thomasblair | 

    Off the top of my head, I’d say Philly’s Kimmel Center is the second best venue in which I’ve seen a show (Joe Henry at Lincoln Center–playing in front of a huge window with a New York City backdrop–was tops).

    You need to hear a show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Top notch acoustics.

  8. #8 |  mike | 

    I had the pleasure to see Lovett, Hiatt, Guy Clark, and Joe Ely together at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. The music was good and it seemed like they were having a good time, but I think that it is probably a sin to listen to Guy Clark in any venue where you can’t lean against a wall with a longneck in your hand.

    As I was walking into that concert, my date noticed a scruffy looking old man smoking a cig and cussing a taxi driver in front of the building, she asked if I thought they would let him in Bass Hall, I said “darling, we paid $100 to see him so I hope so.” It was Guy Clark of course.

  9. #9 |  todd | 

    Thanks for the review. They’ll be at a town near me soon and I’ve been debating whether to go. I like them both independently, but wondered if I would like them together.

    BTW, for full-length tracks, try (; not all are full-length, but enough to make it a first stop.

  10. #10 |  Andrew | 

    I saw the Lovett-Hiatt-Ely-Clark show when they came through Seattle a year or so ago, and while I’ve been a big Lyle Lovett fan for years, what blew me away that night was John Hiatt’s acoustic solo performance of “Perfectly Good Guitar.” I think I’ve played more of Hiatt’s music than Lovett’s on the iPod since then.

  11. #11 |  kim/ohradiogirl | 

    Thanks for linking to my blog. Good stuff. I definitely like that song.