Just before John Hiatt wrapped up his in-store performance with a rendition of his own "Have a Little Faith" at Easy Street's Queen Anne digs last night, he informed the audience that he'd be available to sign things after the show. Anything. You don't have to buy a copy of his excellent new CD, The Open Road, to get an autograph, he said. But it'd sure be nice if you did, "'cause no one else is," he said with a half-laugh.
John Hiatt signs autographs for fans after his in-store performance at Easy Street Records in Queen Anne on Tuesday, April 6. He returns to town on Aug. 25 for Zoo Tunes at the Woodland Park Zoo.
"Support your mom and pop place like this," Hiatt told the crowd. "This is why we do what we do. Because they're music people. Remember them? Thanks, Easy Street."
In his more than 30-minute set on a publicity tour that included no proper show in town, Hiatt revealed himself to be a gentleman troubadour, graciously taking requests from the audience, as well as delivering choice selections from his new album, released on New West Records on last month.Among the highlights was "Homeland," from The Open Road, that is at once sharp bit of historical commentary, and a loving tribute to the place Hiatt calls home.
"And I call this place my homeland/And I claim this I own/But it belongs to another people/They posses it in their bones."
It is en vogue for today's contemporary artists to take shots at the GOP establishment -- which Hiatt did gingerly, with a barb or two directed at Sarah Palin with a smirk on his face -- but waving Old Glory is not on the menu. Hiatt believes it's alright to point out the shortcomings of his country without dismissing it--disappointment, not disdain--something his younger colleagues haven't figured out yet.
Or, as Easy Street owner Matt Vaughan put it over Mannys and Guinness after the show: "That's true Americana."