Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Blissful John Hiatt
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Blissful John Hiatt

Rick Coates - July 5th, 2010
Blissful John Hiatt: Songwriting powerhouse headlines 30th BlissFest
By Rick Coates
John Hiatt’s musical career has woven its way through several musical genres over the past 36 years including rock and roll, blues, new wave, country and folk. As a songwriter his tunes have been covered by Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Paula Abdul, Iggy Pop, Jimmy Buffett, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and Keith Urban, to name a few.
Despite being a hit-maker for others, Hiatt has never achieved the mainstream status of the many who have recorded his songs. He has been labeled “The American Elvis Costello,” and often draws comparison to Bruce Springsteen by musical critics. The unassuming singer/songwriter has found his own way to hang on to a musical career that includes 19 albums and legions of dedicated fans.
Hiatt will headline the 30th Annual Blissfest this weekend, performing on the main stage Saturday night. It will be his first visit to Bliss and he is looking forward to it.
“We have played Northern Michigan before but never Bliss; (I’ve) heard a lot of good things about this festival and we are honored that they have asked us to be a part of the 30th festival,” said Hiatt. “We can be pretty blissful so I am sure we will fit in.”

OPEN ROAD
He and his band plan to get a little golf in and enjoy some of the festival as well. Hiatt is out touring in support of his latest CD The Open Road. One might be under the impression that the album about life out on the road touring, but Hiatt says it goes beyond that.
“On one hand it is about my life touring because that is what I have been doing for the past 26 years,” said Hiatt. “But these songs are about experiences I have had along the way. The songs are more about looking for the open road and seeing what happens.”
Hiatt is not known for concept albums, so is this his first?
“No I do not believe in concept or theme albums,” said Hiatt. “If it seems like a theme album, it is purely by accident.”
With songs like the title track, “Haulin,” “Like A Freight Train,” and “Movin’ On” there is a common thread to the CD Open Road. All of the major music publications have ranked this work among some of the best in Hiatt’s career, giving the CD a four and five star rating.
His songwriting talents are known throughout the industry, but Hiatt chuckles when people suggest he is a master at his craft.
“I would describe my songwriting approach as pretty lazy. I wish I was as dedicated as guys like Bob Seger who head off to their studio everyday and write,” said Hiatt. “I am just casual about it. I built this writing shed on my property that is now a studio and whenever I get a hankering I make my way there.”

BUNCH OF NONSENSE
So what approach does one of the best songwriters of the past 30 years take to create his masterpieces?
“I start playing around on the guitar until I get a melody and chords that I can connect to,” said Hiatt. “Then I start jotting down a bunch of nonsense. After awhile there is usually a line or two from all that nonsense that I can use. So that is how I write a song.”
With so many others recording his songs, does Hiatt set out to write music for others?
“No, I write songs for me. People have asked me to write songs for them, but I am not that kind of writer,” said Hiatt. “So what happens is people hear one of my songs and since it has been recorded, they don’t have to ask my permission, they just have to pay me royalties so often I don’t know when someone is going to record one of my songs. It is kind of amazing to think that Bob Dylan is listening to my CD and then records my song, “The Usual.” I have been fortunate to have written songs that have connected with other artists. That was never my intention, it just happened.”
Is there one song that has been covered that is his favorite?
“It is hard to say, ‘Have Little Faith In Me’ recorded by Joe Cocker and so many others stands out,” said Hiatt. “That song has held up through the years and through many interpretations.”
Hiatt has connected with so many musical genres his music is often hard to label.
“Oh not really, just call it American roots rock,” said Hiatt.

IN DEMAND
Having faced several personal tragedies in his life from divorce, alcoholism, and having his second wife commit suicide, Hiatt’s life of the past 23 years has played out better. He is happily married, alcohol-free and carrying the American songwriting laureate torch passed to him from Dylan.
Hiatt often finds himself performing on late night talk shows. David Letterman, a big fan, had Hiatt on a couple of months ago to debut the title track from The Open Road. He is also much in demand at venues throughout the country. Hiatt says he loves touring, and unlike many of his music colleagues he still prefers the tour bus.
“I don’t know how these guys do it, the ones who fly from gig to gig. I know the big names have private jets but the others that fly commercial. I find airports exhausting,” said Hiatt. “I prefer the tour bus, it is relaxing and you get to see the landscape. I arrive at each show relaxed and ready perform. I don’t see that happening trying to fly to every gig.”
Now in his late 50’s Hiatt has no plans of slowing down.
“I feel very fortunate to have music choose me. I really believe that I didn’t choose this. it chose me. As long as people keep coming to the shows and feel a connection to my music, I am going to be out there. I love the road, the open road and performing. It is what I do; it is really all that I know how to do.”

John Hiatt and his band will trek across the open road of Canada some 700 miles to arrive at Blissfest. They will perform Saturday night on the main stage. For a complete list of performers, to get information on tickets for the 30th Annual Blissfest go to www.blissfest.org


 
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