Hiatt, the rock guitarist pioneer of everything from country to blues to folk/rock and recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting, was actually a commercial failure during his start back in the ’70s.
But his musical evolution stayed ahead of the time, eventually making way for New Wave rock, and Hiatt, influencing musical greats like Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Graham Parker, is bringing it all to Reno, Friday night to the Grand Sierra Resort.
Dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine as having “a plethora of slightly neurotic gems sprinkled throughout his bumpy career” and producing “witty ‘n’ warm love songs,” Hiatt is distinct, both with his stylistic playing and often raspy-sounding voice.
And despite his early setbacks, some early successes tempered Hiatt’s career, as the Indiana-born artist released his first album, “We Make Spirit,” only to have his own song “Sure as I’m Sitting Here” be recorded by Three Dog Night and reach No. 16 on the Billboard Charts.
This marked the first of Hiatt’s songs to be covered, with many other artists latching on to his unique flair for songwriting. Bonnie Rait, Iggy Pop, Eric Clapton and even Willie Nelson are just a few of the musicians who have joined the ranks of Hiatt’s cult following, proving that sometimes album sales aren’t the be all, end all of a music career.
Growing up and listening to The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, two big influences on his style, Hiatt continued to release other albums including “Hanging Around the Observatory” (1974) and “Overcoats,” (1975) to little success.
It was during this time though that even more covered Hiatt songs came out like Roseanne Cash’s rendition of “It Hasn’t Happened Yet” and Bob Dylan’s version of “The Usual,” before ushering in Hiatt’s final reign of success in the late ’80s.
Hiatt’s “Bring the Family” (1987) album established his ever-changing style and cemented his name as both the singer and songwriter on the charts.
Hits like “Have a Little Faith in Me” and “This Thing Called Love” did notably well for Hiatt and since then the rocker ran a string of nine straight studio albums that would frequent the Billboard Charts.
While Hiatt has been nominated for 11 Grammy Awards, he has never won. However, his most recent album, “Same Old Man,” released in 2008, still has music critics buzzing, with one reviewer from Glide Magazine even mentioning that Bob Dylan “could never be so open as Hiatt is” on several songs.
Hiatt could have had a slow start but it could be said that things are picking up.
Opening for Hiatt & The Ageless Beauties will be Ben Taylor. Show starts at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door and can be purchased at the Grand Sierra Box Office or at www.ticketmaster.com.