Lilly Hiatt: Trinity Lane (2017)
Hiatt's brand of Americana merges a somewhat traditional country twang (somewhere between Lucinda Williams and Dolly Parton) with some serious rock & roll chops, calling to mind Lydia Loveless; though the detailed, clever narratives in the lyrics (and at times conversational vocal tone) also remind me of Amy Rigby. (Of course, Hiatt brings some impressive lineage to the table, as the daughter of John Hiatt, though her straightforward country-rock is much more traditional than dad's more challenging brand of punk-energized blues/folk/country-infused rock.)
The album kicks off with a quieter tune that serves to show off her impressive pipes, but jumps into overdrive on the slow, guitar-driven grind of "The Night David Bowie Died," an unexpectedly poignant love song that respectably invokes Bowie's passing as a peripheral jumping off point. And the album hits its stride with the title track, an upbeat rocker with a killer hook and some raging guitars. I'm particularly taken by "Records," a heartfelt ode to a love of music that rings true (and packs a solid Springsteen musical vibe).
There are tunes that are a little too far on the country side of the country-rock equation for my taste, particularly some of the slower tunes on the album's back stretch (which slide a bit into pop balladry), but Hiatt's vocals and crafty lyrical couplets keep it engaging.
I can't say whether this or Walking Proof is the better entry point -- I need to give the new one a few more spins -- but both seem to be fine introductions to an impressive talent.
Here's the video for "Night David Bowie Died":