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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.

John Hiatt & The Goners - Beneath This Gruff Exterior LP Released 20/11/20

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