Alt-country composer Lilly Hiatt was rightly proud of Safe to walk, last year’s New West Records successor to her breakthrough in 2017 Trinity Street. It even boasted cameos from a few A-list celebs like Amanda Shires, Luke Schneider and their legendary folk / rock dad John Hiatt on “Some Kind Of Drug”.
Unfortunately, the March 27, 2020 release date didn’t exactly help her – the release just as COVID-19 has banned every concert venue where it could potentially promote it. Combined with a poorly timed breakup, Hiatt spent the first few days of quarantine alone with her cat in her hometown of Nashville, sometimes driving her van through once-bustling popular neighborhoods like Five Points.
“[Nashville] got pretty closed and it was really scary, ”says Hiatt. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow. It’s just bizarre. ‘ I missed everyone, but I felt kind of connected to the people just by driving past these places we used to meet – even though no one was there. “
But Hiatt, 37, has managed to step out of the shadows of the pandemic with her uplifting, life-affirming new album. Lately (to be released on cassette October 8th and digitally via New West Records a week later) – though she’s still not sure how she got there. She remembers some small steps she took in an optimistic direction (starting with a new Labrador Pit Bull puppy that she adopted to accompany her on her van rides while the cat stayed home safely) . When depression crept in, she would call her smart father across town for advice.
“He has a lot to say,” she says. “But usually he emphasizes the importance of the music and keeps it in the foreground, regardless of where everything else is in the world.”
That’s why their pops spent the pandemic cutting the album Leftover feelings with Jerry Douglas while Hiatt began to wonder the existential questions that were too Lately Hymns like the clinking “Stop”, the spooky “Been”, a few bluesy rockers (“Gem”, “Peach” and “Face”) and some of their lost trading country numbers (“Ride” and “The Last.) Tear”). Speaking of second generation musicians, Lately also spawned Hiatt’s latest relationship with guitarist Coley Hinson, who along with his father Steve Hinson also contributed to the album on Pedal Steel.
Thematic, Lately contains many lyrical self-reproaches, with lines like “I should have known better”, “You don’t know where I’ve been” and “One day I have to forgive myself” among others. “I think forgiveness is a never-ending adventure for me,” says Hiatt TURN. “Last year was a tough year – just very tough – but I think I learned to just keep going. Being a troubadour already forces you into this lifestyle of moving forward because if you don’t you won’t make it to the next gig. But learn how to use some of that power mentally while being still? I found it very useful. As a songwriter I learned this other kind of flow. “
Now sharing an apartment with Hinson, her biggest hurdle in the preparation Lately trained her reserved cat matriarch to tolerate a limitless new mutt.
“We’re working on it, and they’re actually coming together in our new place,” she says. “I was alone for much of the pandemic – with quite a bit of time to think – and all that fear just felt very overwhelming at times. A lot has changed for me and now it’s just nice to be happy. “
Checks out a new track from Lately, “Been” below.