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The Open Road

4.3 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 2, 2010
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$13.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Looking at life through the rearview mirror was the inspiration for John Hiatt s brand new album, The Open Road. A classic Hiatt record, the rockin songs sizzle with the heat from two-lane blacktop on a summer s day. Hiatt and his touring band (Kenny Blevins on drums, Patrick O Hearn on bass and Doug Lancio on guitars) recorded a set that gives Garage Rock a new meaning. All the other years, my songs are about coming home, Hiatt says. But within these 11 new songs including Haulin and the title track The Open Road home is never the destination.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 2, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: New West Records
  • ASIN: B0033XKVHI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,491 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music
Unlike the previous two reviewers I didn't have any issues with static or other noise on my downloaded copy of the Open Road by John Hiatt. The sound quality isn't as crisp as on some of John's earlier outings from the "Slow Turning" era but I think the rugged sound of this album is intentional. Everything sounds okay to my ears. Hiatt recorded this album in his garage studio with his current touring band, guitarist Doug Lancio, bassist Patrick O' Hearn and drummer Kenneth Blevins. Lancio's stellar guitar playing deserves special notice.

John Hiatt has one of the meatiest song books of any American musician. John is in the rarified class of songwriters with Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt and John Prine who are prolific in the number of time tested songs of enduring quality they've given to the world. At the age of 57, John's voice is showing well earned signs of wear but those great songs keep on coming.

John Hiatt had his demons and his return to the land of the living is well documented on his middle period albums. Over the 20 years since, Hiatt has produced consistently good albums with suprisingly few falls from artistic grace. Hiatt's best songs are sublime and even his less inspired music qualifies to be somebody else's "great album." John's music will always be judged against the impossibly perfect standards he set for himself on "Bring the Family" (1987) and "Slow Turning" (1988) which were forerunners of the Americana, No-Depression (or whatever you want to call it) revival of roots music in the 90s. Hiatt had a big impact on the younger vanguard roots rock bands like Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown and the Blood Oranges.
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While The Open Road can really only be considered an average Hiatt album, I would still rather listen to average Hiatt over most other artists.

Hiatt was at his musical peak in the early-mid 90s, and while he has produced quite good to quite average albums over the past decade or so, he still is capable of writing some very solid songs.

At age 57, no long-time prolific artist/songwriter is creating their best stuff, nor is their voice as strong as it was when they were 20 years younger. Hiatt is no exception, but the fact that he is still around and still writing decent music after nearly 20 studio albums says something about his talent.

Hiatt's strength as an artist has never really been his studio work anyway. He is a storyteller who particularly shines in concert, in front of an audience, where his combination of narrative and folksy humor provides context to his music.

I look forward to seeing Hiatt live in concert yet again when he tours the US in support of this new album, and even though I believe only a handful of songs off of The Open Road are worthy of playing live, I am eager to hear the concert versions of the songs he does choose to play, as they always provide his fans a new/unique experience of the studio versions they listened to in the car on the way to the show.
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I tend to only write a review if I am annoyed by the lack of value in a product. This is not the case here. I put this CD into my car player and have been spinning it for two weeks(I have a 80 minute ride each day). It's a 6 disk player and every time another artist comes up I push the button to return to this disk. I have been a John Hiatt since ~1988-89 when I saw him on SNL with the Goners. His albums are certainly not of consistent great quality but they always are good. This CD stands out for me as one of his best since before Tiki Bar. Great songs, guitar, voice...what's not to love. He is an American classic and I hope he keeps cranking out his unique sound for many more years. One of your best John. Thanks once again man.
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I love John Hiatt, but this one sounded a mite tired - something that had also come across on his last one, Same Old Man. Still good stuff, but....well...the spark seems to have dimmed a bit. Whatever, it's still a quality ride though, but don't expect fireworks.
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Sometimes in these reviews I criticize artists for continuing to put out the same old stuff year after year with no variation. But with Mr Hiatt I can't do that. I can't conceive of him ever varying from this Americana thing he's been doing for decades now. (He was Americana before there was a named genre.) So on Open Road we get more of the same from John, that familiar mix of rockabilly, blues, C&W, and rock, all sung in his distinctive throaty vocal style. The backing band is in superb form throughout the album. Having said all of that, though, I enjoyed some parts of this album more than others. A weak song such as "Homeland" makes me think he's tired of the whole business, but then it's followed up by two pretty good tunes, "Wonder of Love" and "What Kind of Man." On occasion the great musicianship almost redeems a lesser song, as with the excellent guitar work on "Movin' On." Overall, though, this is a workmanlike but middling effort from Mr Hiatt.

By the way, I did not hear any hiss problems with the download.
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