A journeyman soul crooner trapped in a singer/songwriter’s body, John Hiatt is an exceptional tunesmith with a knack for delivering poignant lyrical turns set to memorable melodies, but his studio choices have often failed him.
Taking over production for Same Old Man has certainly solved some of his problems, allowing him to return to a rustic, stripped-?down vibe. He certainly makes the most of the string-?bending abilites of Luther Dickinson on guitar, mandolin and National resonator guitar in a way which favourably recalls Hiatt’s sentimental fan fave Bring The Family.
The drawback is that Hiatt appears to have focused too much on documenting the right performances and not enough on fine-tuning his compositions, which are light weight at best and rife with writerly clichés at worst. Of course, he could just be creatively tapped. Same Old Man isn’t Hiatt’s finest hour but it’s still far from his worst.