Lilly Hiatt - Walking Proof Music Album Reviews

On her fourth album, the Nashville singer-songwriter moves beyond the unadorned Americana of previous albums to arrive at new sounds, moods, and emotions.

There’s a moment on “Rae,” Walking Proof’s opening cut, where roots rocker Lilly Hiatt’s plaintive strumming and quivering voice are consumed by a Technicolor wave of sound that pulls the song in an unexpected direction. That moment is Walking Proof in microcosm: The album pushes Hiatt out of her comfort zone, widening her palette and deepening her emotional reach, transforming music that was once starkly black and white into vivid, saturated hues.

Hiatt spent the past decade carving out a reputation on the Americana circuit, laying the groundwork with her hard-edged 2012 debut, Let Down, and sharpening her focus with 2015’s Royal Blue. Her real breakthrough arrived in 2017 with Trinity Place, where she plumbed the depths of a painful breakup. Produced by Michael Trent of Shovels & Rope, it was flintier than its predecessors but still adhered to the conventional contours of Americana; at its core, the songs were rootsy and the productions were unadorned.

Walking Proof, her fourth album, may be rooted in country and rock traditions, but the album can’t be called spare: Even at its hushed moments, it’s bright and dense with detail. Some of this lushness is due to Hiatt’s decision to work with Lincoln Parish, a producer who previously was part of Bowling Green, Kentucky’s premier alt-rock pastiche outfit, Cage the Elephant. Parish coaxes a considerable amount of color out of Hiatt’s songs, playing supplementary guitar and keyboards while weaving in instrumental cameos from guitarist Aaron Lee Tasjan (“Little Believer”), violinist Amanda Shires (“Walking Proof”), and pedal-steel player Luke Schneider (“Move”). All these contributions enhance Hiatt’s road band (guitarist John Condit and bassist Robert Hudson return from Trinity Place, while drummer Kate Haldrup is a new addition). A lean and lithe combo, as capable at delivering nuance as noise, they follow their leader whenever she raves, wails, or sighs.

Some melancholy undercurrents flow through Walking Proof—there are missed connections and misconstrued intentions, pleas to friends and lovers to think better of themselves—but it’s not as explicitly confessional as Trinity Place, reflecting Hiatt’s decision to write about a shifting set of characters and emotions. She also adds some breathing space to the record, placing the bright, cheerful “Little Believer” and the riotous “Never Play Guitar” in the middle of their two respective album sides, a sequencing trick that quickens the album’s pace and lets songs like “Some Kind of Drug” linger in the air. Hiatt wrote “Some Kind of Drug” after accompanying her sister Rae on a mission to help Nashville’s homeless, winding up with a portrait of a city whose gentrification threatens to swallow up its underlying humanity.

Hiatt’s empathy shines through on “Some Kind of Drug,” but most of Walking Proof is written on a smaller scale, focused squarely on interpersonal relationships. She recounts a miserable trip to Portland with a sly grin on “P-Town,” gently but defiantly asserts her independence on “Candy Lunch,” and pledges her unwavering devotion to her sister on “Rae,” a lovely portrait of complex familial love. The existence of “Rae” slightly undercuts Hiatt’s contention that Walking Proof isn’t as autobiographical as Trinity Place, but the song also helps illustrate the differences between the two albums. Trinity Place hits hard and strong, while Walking Proof winds through moments of incandescent joy, gentleness, cathartic noise, and even unease (“Scream” ends the hopeful album with an eerie crawl). It’s as if Hiatt has emerged from a dark, uncertain period as a stronger, bolder artist, winding up with an album that encompasses a full spectrum of feeling as it rocks with abandon.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Lilly Hiatt - Walking Proof Music Album Reviews Lilly Hiatt - Walking Proof Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 04, 2020 Rating: 5


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