John Hiatt wasn't just whistling Dixie when he titled his latest album with a promise to give listeners a peek at his inner goings-on. On the surface, Beneath This Gruff Exterior is his most easygoing work in quite a while -- thanks in large part to his decision to reunite his band the Goners after a 15-year recording hiatus. But dig a little deeper, and the mood swings start to appear. They're most apparent on "Nagging Dark," a stark depiction of the singer's battle with depression -- a topic he revisits with a slightly less somber tone on "Almost Fed Up with the Blues." A similarly dark humor permeates "Fly Back Home," a hill-country plaint that could pass for bucolic until Hiatt gets to the meat of the tune: a real-life incident in which he accidentally ran over a rattlesnake and then proceeded to grind the critter into dust under his car wheels. Guitarist Sonny Landreth prods Hiatt here and there, peppering songs like "How Bad's the Coffee" -- a simultaneously clever and homespun embrace of a trip to a blue-highway diner over one to the local Starbucks -- with licks that sting and salve. Hiatt may well be better known for his songwriting -- "The Most Unoriginal Sin," included here, has been a Willie Nelson staple for a decade -- but Beneath This Gruff Exterior attests to the raw energy he's still capable of generating as a performer after all these years.
|Label:||New West Records|
Performance CreditsJohn Hiatt & the Goners Primary Artist
John Hiatt Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Sonny Landreth Dobro,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Slide Guitar
Bobby Keys Baritone Saxophone
David Ranson Bass
Kenneth Blevins Drums,Background Vocals
Technical CreditsJohn Hiatt Producer
Don Smith Producer,Engineer
Kimberly Levitan Art Direction
John Hiatt & the Goners Producer
Jon Hiatt Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beneath This Gruff Exterior based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Since receiving this album through my BMG membership last month, I have to say that I have really taken a liking to it. Since I retired from the Miami police department, I've spent a lot of time building my cd collection. Since I live on a boat, I was really worried about someone ripping me off, but then I realized "Hey, I own a crocodile for crying out loud!". So, I started collecting cds as a hobby. This cd has a lot of nice tracks to listen to while I drive around town in my Ferrari. Some of my favorite tracks include "A shoe full of baked beans is no shoe of mine", "The rock-hard poop that damaged my hide", and "Arnold Drummond was a blessed soul". This cd has a real tropical feel to it, so it's a great soundtrack for sitting out in the sun with a fruity cocktail. There are a lot of deeper messages throughout the album, too, so it can be appreciated on both levels.