...one of rock's most astute singer-songwriters of the
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John Hiatt - Beneath This Gruff Exterior (2003)
[New West Records NW 6045]

duration: 49:36
  1. Uncommon Connection    4:09
  2. How Bad's The Coffee    3:55
  3. Nagging Dark    3:15
  4. My Baby Blue    4:33
  5. My Dog And Me    3:12
  6. Almost Fed Up With The Blues    4:35
  7. Circle Back    4:28
  8. Window On The World    3:34
  9. Missing Pieces    4:05
  10. Fly Back Home    4:43
  11. The Last Time    4:51
  12. The Most Unoriginal Sin    4:16
Producers: Don Smith, John Hiatt & The Goners

Musicians: The Goners
John Hiatt (Acoustic & Electric guitars, vocals)
Dave Ranson (Bass)
Kenneth Blevins (Drums, Background vocals)
Sonny Landreth (Electric & Slide guitar, Dobro, Background vocals)

special guest:
Bobby Keys: (Baritone sax on "Almost Fed Up With The Blues")
All songs written by John Hiatt

Limited edition Bonus CD with 3 unreleased recordings!
(original two-track demos) (total time 11:06)

- Uncommon Connection
- Missing Pieces
- Almost Fed Up With The Blues

Hiatt worked with the Goners again for the 2003 album Beneath This Gruff Exterior, which is currently in print. It was the most fiery album Hiatt had released in a decade, and it took him nearly another decade to match that fire again.

A limited edition promo CD connected to this release contained the original demos of three of the album's tracks: the excited "Uncommon Connection" and "Almost Fed Up With the Blues", and the introspective ballad "Missing Pieces".

The sound of these demos is much like the acoustic, drumless sound of the Crossing Muddy Waters album. But Hiatt's vocals are just as impassioned here as they are on the finished album tracks, making these demos the virtual equals of their fully realized counterparts.

review by Rarebird's Rock and Roll Rarity Reviews