MUSIC BOX: Master Crafter

By on March 1, 2016

John Hiatt makes good on cancelled show at the Center Theater.

Left: John Hiatt gets a chance for redemption on the Center’s stage Wednesday after a bus debacle forced him to cancel his set last year. Right: On their new album, The Brothers Comatose lament a problem emerging in their hometown of San Fran that is familiar to many Jacksonites—they worry the city’s housing crisis will drive out some of SF’s most creative residents.

Left: John Hiatt gets a chance for redemption on the Center’s stage Wednesday after a bus debacle forced him to cancel his set last year. Right: On their new album, The Brothers Comatose lament a problem emerging in their hometown of San Fran that is familiar to many Jacksonites—they worry the city’s housing crisis will drive out some of SF’s most creative residents.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – It may come as a surprise to see John Hiatt back on the Center for the Art’s concert calendar this winter after being scheduled last September—a bill that also featured Taj Mahal Trio. But in fact, Hiatt’s bus broke down en route to Jackson and the legendary songwriter was forced to cancel his set.

Hiatt’s latest release is 2014’s Terms of My Surrender, the title track of which was nominated for Song of the Year at last year’s Americana Music Association Honors and Awards. While he has leaned into the blues throughout his career, the album embodies the acoustic blue roots of the Deep South with Hiatt’s gruff voice as the focal point. Astonishingly, this album is his 22nd studio release since his 1974 debut Hangin’ Around the Observatory, and is musically rooted in acoustic blues.

Hiatt is known as a satirical storyteller and master lyricist. Even Bob Dylan recorded one of his songs. Others that have tapped his songs for albums include Bonnie Raitt (a big hit with “Thing Called Love”), Delbert McClinton, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt, and Don Henley. It comes as a surprise that one of the industry’s greats has only been nominated for a Grammy but never won, and his sales have never quite matched his reputation.

Opening the show is an even gruffer, cigarette-packin’ vocalist that splits his time between full-tilt rock show frontman and acoustic solo performer. Rick Brantley’s new EP, LO-FI, leans into his pensive, thought-provoking side.

“I was on the road last year with Hiatt—just me and an acoustic guitar—and only my previous rock record to sell,” Brantley said. “We had these songs that were never going to be on the full-band rock record we’re working on… more like singer-songwriter stuff. So we just decided to make a live-in-the-studio record of those tunes, with just us playing.”

John Hiatt with Rick Brantley, 7 p.m., Wednesday at the Center Theater. $55. JHCenterForTheArts.org, 733-4900.

Brothers bring City Painted Gold

Led by lead vocalists and brothers Ben Morrison (guitar) and Alex Morrison (banjo), rocking string band The Brothers Comatose return after playing Targhee Bluegrass Festival in 2013.

When it came time to write their third record, City Painted Gold (debuts March 4), the now-seasoned road warriors returned to their home of 14 years in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco.

“We wrote this album living in San Francisco as it was changing from a weird, art-friendly mecca to a place that only super-rich tech workers could afford,” explained Ben. “Things started changing—venues were closing down, and artist and musician friends moved away. What is San Francisco without its weirdos? That’s what the song ‘City Painted Gold’ is about, and that’s why it’s the name of this record.”

Shortly after completing the record, The Brothers Comatose themselves joined the ranks of the displaced. Eviction brought change, and change inspired creativity towards progressing the southwestern-tinged, rowdy stringband sound they now have developed.

San Francisco country duo The Easy Leaves will open the show. Alongside Rosanne Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Loudon Wainwright III, and Justin Townes Earle, the band was featured in “The 78 Project”—a documentary recreating Alan Lomax’s journey to capture important American Folk music on its home porches.

The Brothers Comatose with The Easy Leaves, 10 p.m., Friday at the Knotty Pine in Victor. $10. 208-787-2866. PJH

PLANET PICKS

WED: Earphunk (Town Square Tavern) John Hiatt with Rick Brantley (Center Theater) THUR: Chris Proctor (Dornan’s), Major Zephyr (Silver Dollar) FRI: The Brothers Comatose with The Easy Leaves (Knotty Pine), Camille Rae and District 26 (Mangy Moose) Screen Door Porch (Silver Dollar) SAT: The Deadlocks (Pink Garter Theatre), Canyon Kids (après; Under the Tram), Screen Door Porch (Silver Dollar) SUN: John Wayne’s World (Trap Bar), Stagecoach Band (Stagecoach Bar) MON: Tucker Smith (après: Mangy Moose) TUES: One Ton Pig (Silver Dollar)

Aaron Davis is a songwriting troubadour, multi-instrumentalist, founding member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, and host of Songwriter’s Alley.

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About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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