Beneath This Gruff Exterior
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Much to his credit, John Hiatt has never strayed very far from the bluesy garage rock roots of his Indiana childhood. That fact is raucously underscored here, a gritty collection that finds the veteran singer/songwriter co-crediting his longtime band, the Goners (guitarist Sonny Landreth, bassist Dave Ranson and Kenneth Blevins on drums) for the first time--and for good reason. While Hiatt's songwriting efforts are typically strong throughout, with gems like "Almost Fed Up With the Blues," "My Dog and Me," "My Baby Blue," and "The Most Unoriginal Sin" (originally recorded by Willie Nelson in 93) showcasing his tough wit and tender heart, this is decidedly a band effort from the rollicking first notes of "Uncommon Connection." Recorded live in the studio, Hiatt and the Goners evoke everything from chugging Sun Records' shuffles to swampy Delta blues, early Ry Cooder and the Band, all of it informed by the almost telepathic sense of interplay these musicians have developed over decades of touring. This is easily the most overtly rocking album of Hiatt's career, but one that hasn't sacrificed an ounce of soul for its joyous energy. --Jerry McCulley
Top Customer Reviews
While it is true, as other reviewers note, that Hiatt's last couple of efforts have been spotty,(the last consistently good release being the underrated 'Little Head), 'Beneath this Gruff Exterior' is right on target. Hiatt fans should be happy, and those not familiar with him are invited to hear what you've been missing. Get it!
I can promise you, if you like John Hiatt, you can't go wrong buying this album! It's a relief to see that there's a bit of honest and real music around in these superficial times!
Sorry Amazon.com., stand corrected, after you listen to his actual OVERLTLY rocking albums...
Perfectly Good Guitar
Live at Budakon
Both records feature the massive lead guitar of Michael Ward who left soon after to waste his talent with Jacob Dylan's band ...The Lame Wildflowers.
Most recent customer reviews
Yes this rocks, and there are some catchy hooks, but I felt little emotional connection with the material. Read morePublished on April 18 2004
I had sort of lost track of John Hiatt until a recent live acoustic show (with Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, and a few others), where he stole the show lock stock and perfectly good... Read morePublished on April 14 2004 by Addison Phillips
This one's one of his best - right up there with Bring the Family and Slow Turning. The only thing better than listening to the CD is seeing Hiatt in concert.Published on Dec 11 2003 by Benny
Any album whose opening line is "Well I do my best thinking sitting on my ..." has got to be a winner, and BENEATH THIS GRUFF EXTERIOR is just that. Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2003 by Jef Fazekas
The sound on this album is so noticeably awful that John Hiatt either wanted it that way or made some terrible choices in the studio. Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2003 by Androo
Being a John Hiatt fan for quite a long time now, I find myself looking forward with eager anticipation to each new release. Read morePublished on July 14 2003 by Adam Kenny
Hiatt has this reputation of being a great songwriter. He hooked me with a live show in Philly in 88. I was blown away. Read morePublished on July 8 2003 by Francene P.