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Mystic Pinball

Release Date: September 25, 2012
CD NW 6260
LP NW 5068

CD

 
1. We're Alright Now 4:31 Listen
2. Bite Marks 3:36 Listen
3. It All Comes Back Someday 3:38 Listen
4. Wood Chipper 4:33 Listen
5. My Business 3:04 Listen
6. I Just Don't Know What To Say 4:37 Listen
7. I Know How To Lose You 3:47 Listen
8. You're All The Reason I Need 3:46 Listen
9. One Of Them Damn Days 2:45 Listen
10. No Wicked Grin 3:54 Listen
11. Give It Up 4:07 Listen
12. Blues Can't Even Find Me 3:32 Listen
  Total running time 46:01  
 

 

Musicians

John Hiatt: acoustic and electric guitar
Vocals
Doug Lancio: acoustic and electric guitar
mandolin, Dobro
Kenneth Blevins: drums
Percussions
Patrick O’Hearn: Bass
Ron Dziubla: Sax
Arlan Schierbaum: Piano and Organ
Russ Pahl: Pedal steel guitar
Brandon Young: Backing vocals
Doug Henthorn: Harmony vocals

Note

  • All songs written by John Hiatt.
  • Recorded at Ben's studio, Nashville, TN
  • Engineer: Leslie Richter
  • Mixed at: The Cave, Malibu, CA
  • Recorded and mixed : Kevin "Caveman"Shirley
  • Additional engineering: Pat Thrall
  • Horns wrangled by Lee Thornberg
  • Matered by: Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering, Portland, ME
  • Hiatt Crew and Combo: Scott Knabe, Jay Wright, Brandon young, Kenneth Blevins, Doug Lancio, Pat O'Hearn
  • Special thanks to Ken and everyone at Vector Management, Mary Ann and David at Flood, Bumstead, McReady and McCarthey, Gary, Mike and Amanda at New West, Nikki and Rob at UTA and as always my wife and Family.
  • A&R Direction: Gary Briggs
  • Design: Gina R. Binkley
  • Photographer: Jack Spencer
  • Management: Vector management

 

 

Press sheet

Los Angeles, CA – August 13, 2012 – Acclaimed musician and songwriter John Hiatt will release Mystic Pinball on September 25th via New West Records. Called "...one of rock's most astute singer-songwriters of the last 40 years" by the Los Angeles Times, Hiatt continues to write brilliant character studies, twisting entertaining storylines with cunning lyrics and wry humor including "We're Alright Now," the first single from Mystic Pinball. The blues driven "We're Alright Now" is available to hear at Facebook.com/JohnHiatt. Mystic Pinball will be available as both a CD and on limited edition 180-gram vinyl.

Hiatt and his band, The Combo, have gained a reputation for captivating crowds at their live shows as The Tennessean depicts: "He prowls the stage, delivering the bluesy stuff in a whiskey-burn howl, shouting the rock stuff and fronting a formidable band that can turn on a dime, from ballads to bombast." Hiatt & The Combo begin a US run mid-August that includes dates with Steve Earle, a special appearance at the Americana Festival in Nashville and two shows at City Winery in NYC (full list of dates below.) For Mystic Pinball, Hiatt's 21st studio album, Hiatt turned to producer Kevin "Caveman" Shirley (Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Joe Bonamassa.) Shirley also produced Hiatt's highly praised Dirty Jeans And Mudslide Hymns, which the New York Times declared was "...his best since 1995." Hiatt relies on the exceptional musical skills of Doug Lancio (electric guitar, mandolin, Dobro), Kenneth Blevins (drums and percussion) and Patrick O'Hearn (bass) to play with him on the record.

John Hiatt's career as a performer and songwriter has spanned more than 30 years and everyone from Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, BB King, Bonnie Raitt and Iggy Pop has covered his work. Hiatt began his solo career with the 1974 album Hangin' Around the Observatory. His landmark 1987 release Bring The Family, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, was his first album to chart in the U.S. 2000's Crossing Muddy Waters was called "The most natural and relaxed John Hiatt album in years..." by All Music Guide. In 2008, Hiatt released Same Old Man, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and was honored by the Americana Music Association with their prestigious "Lifetime Achievement in Songwriting Award." Critical acclaim continued for The Open Road (2010) with The Boston Herald praising "Hiatt knocks together a rocking, full-throttle road record that in its tone, toughness and mix of blues, r & b and country harkens back to his landmark Bring the Family" while the Associated Press proclaimed "Hiatt remains at the top of his game" in reference to Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns (2011.)

 

allmusic.com

To his credit, John Hiatt has never been a guy with much interest in doing the same thing twice in a row, and it's not uncommon for a new Hiatt album to seem like a reaction to the last record he made -- a quiet, acoustic-based album will often be followed by a tougher, more rollicking set, and if he was thoughtful and introspective last time, it's a fair bet he'll sound tougher and wilder the next time he goes into the studio. Since 2011's Dirty Jeans & Mudslide Hymns boasted the slickest production to grace a Hiatt album in quite some time, it's paradoxically appropriate that Mystic Pinball, appearing just 13 months later, sounds a lot looser, funkier, and more lively, as if Hiatt and his band rolled in and cut these songs without much fuss. As it happens, Dirty Jeans and Mystic Pinball were both produced by the same guy, Kevin Shirley, but the finished product certainly sounds and feels different, and the rough and ready tone of these sessions fits the material well, especially the crunchy, blues-shot "My Business," the witty but ominous "Wood Chipper," the marvelously cranky "One of Them Damn Days," and the Stones-style groove of "You're All the Reason I Need." If the production is simple, Hiatt and his band -- Doug Lancio on guitar, Patrick O'Hearn on bass, and Kenneth Blevins on drums -- are locked in tight enough to sound sharp and satisfying without being gimmicked up, and there's a sense of fun in this album that was often missing on Dirty Jeans. And for a guy who has cranked out four studio albums in five years, Hiatt is having a great run as a songwriter -- on this disc, the shaggy dog stories are funny, the blues numbers are full of righteous swagger, and he can sing about love like a guy who is still learning a few things at the age of 60 (and his voice is in fine shape, too). Who knows what sort of about-face John Hiatt will deliver the next time he feels like recording (prog rock, maybe?), but for a guy whose 40th year as a solo artist is appearing on the horizon, he's sounding as full of ideas and energy as a guy half his age, and Mystic Pinball confirms he's still delivering the goods in an impressive fashion.

 

 

 


Were alright now

Done pretty good now babe
Keepin' the lights on this last little while
Nobody trying' to hunt us down for somethin' we done wrong
Got no reason not to smile

The sun come up every mornin'
Even when it's too cloudy to see
I was willin' to lose that years ago
Don't know what was the matter with me

Baby we're alright now
Gotta love so strong
Alright now
Even when it's wrong

A little gratitude now babe
It sure can go a long, long way
Feels good like eatin' ice cream
So I try to have a little bit every day

A lot of heavy liftin'
Bein’ done on our behalf
Didn't earn it, didn't deserve it
We didn't even have to ask

And we're alright now
Gotta love so strong
Baby we’re alright now
Even when it's wrong

So won't you stay with me tonight
We’ll cry some tears and sing some songs
Honey it's alright now
All those bad old days are gone

Won't you stay with me tonight
We’ll cry some tears and sing some songs
Baby it's alright now
All those bad old days are gone

Oh we're alright now
Gotta love so strong
Baby, we’re alright now
Even when it's wrong

Honey it's alright now
All those bad old days are gone

Up

 

 


Bite marks

CHORUS:
Bite marks baby, out of control
You sink 'em in and take a chunk of my soul
Bite marks baby, up and down my mind
You know you really chewed me up this time

You like it rough, down in the mud
Your idea of fun is drawin’ blood
You tear the meat from the heart of a thing
Until there's nothing worth remembering

CHORUS

Don't need no teeth to eat my beef
I'm tenderhearted, ain't no Lee Van Cleef
You bit my tires and it blew my mind
Now I can't even roll down the line

CHORUS

You go right for the jugular vein
Bared incisors and your eyes are insane
I have to handle you with chain maille gloves
There is no name for your kind of love

CHORUS

Up

 

 


It all comes back someday

You shot bolt upright in the middle of the dark
As she drove her motorcycle through the trailer park
A hundred miles an hour no helmet on her head
‘Til that concrete drain was runnin’ cherry red

Used to sit and drink coffee at the Waffle House
Had to spin up her wheels just to get it out

CHORUS:
Now it all comes back to haunt you
Yeah, it comes back anytime it wants to
It all comes back through the holes and the cracks
Where you thought you let it slip away
Yeah, it all comes back some day

Feelin’ bad about yourself, you were seven years old
So you got her in the bushes where you had some control
Tied up her hands so she couldn't fight fair
Threw a jar of silver model car paint in her hair

After all these years does the shoe still fit?
Have you only just now started wearin’ it?

CHORUS

The way she combed her hair
Straight across a minute where you could have died
You thought love was something that you had to hide
To survive

All those lives you thought you lived away
There ain't a one showin’ any kinda sign of decay
They're all stacked on your head like infinity's crown
The truth is you ain't never lived anything down

You're bound up forever to the blood on the trail
To the tires on the gravel to the rust on the rail

CHORUS

Up

 

 


Wood chipper

Well, I'm from the Midwest
I know enough to cut a path
Around a wood chipper

And be careful
Of any conversation
A man starts by callin' you skipper

'Cause there ain't no ocean 'round here
Though a lotta little lakes where you could disappear
I wonder what the fish are bitin' on today, Jimmy

She told me not
To follow her down here
Said he was crazy about her

I guess I didn't know
What that meant
Just knew I couldn't do without her

Then I seen 'em through the window sash
He had a Forty four pistol and a bag of cash
And she was foldin' some kinda pretty note paper into her breast pocket

What some people won’t do, to break up a happy home
What some people won’t do, to break up a happy home

Well, I got the picture
A temporary love shack
In the middle of no place

They were plannin'
On usin' that cash
To get away bold-faced

Now how long did they think they could stay
The troopers and the Marshall's surely on their way
I ran through the yard and I banged my knee on his wood chipper

I was screamin' like a baby
She appeared at the window
He opened the door

And when I looked up
He said "Skipper
What're you doin’ here for"

One bullet to the head
Before I hit the ground I was dead
I guess I'm tellin' you this before you go fishin' now, Jimmy

What some people won't do, break up a happy home
What some people won’t do, break up a happy home
What some people won’t do, to break up a happy home
What some people won’t do, to break up a happy home

Never found my body
But they killed 'em in a shoot out
Five miles down the road

They found that note paper
In her breast pocket
Thought it was somethin' written in code

But it was part of a letter set
I'd got her for Christmas ten years ago I'd bet
She used to just use the paper for her grocery list
(and it read)

Eggs
Hamburger meat
Bread
Funyuns
Orange drink
Toilet paper
Tidy Bowl
Pickles
Little Debbie Snack Cakes

What some people won't do, break up a happy home
What some people won't do, to break up a happy home
What some people won't do, to break up a happy home
What some people won't do, break up a happy home

Up

 

 


My business

CHORUS:
My baby don't like my business
My baby don't like my business
You know she don't like my business
My baby don't like my business now

She take me out to a party
Then she act like she don't know me
I don't know how we got it started
Some day I'm gonna set her free

CHORUS

She wakes me up in the mornin'
Cold coffee and a crust of bread
Pillows fluffied up like a body
I look over and there ain't no head

CHORUS

Well I go to work broken hearted
She's down at the new dress shop
I come home it's like a funeral parlor
She wanna put me down in that box

CHORUS

Up

 

 


I just don't know what to say

You took my love
You took my trust
You turned 'em in
To a pile of rust

Stole my money
And you lied to me
You said we were shootin' it straight
Mutually

Now I think you want
Me to be kind
Bury the past
And ease your mind

But I'm not here
To make you pay
Baby, I just don't know what to say
Baby, I just don't know what to say

It makes me wonder
How long I been your fool
Though it hardly changes
What I feel for you

And that's the thing
I don't understand
It goes to show
What kind of fool I am

Covered in darkness
But I wanna see
What's the matter with you, babe
What's the matter with me

If I could believe
I'd hit my knees and pray
But baby, I just don't know what to say
Baby, I just don't know what to say

I know you're shocked
At my loss for words
'Cause I can talk
The wings off a humming bird
I think too fast
But not fast enough for you
And everything you always wanted
To be brand new

Now my mind is tongue-tied
I got two left feet
I can't dance outta here
I keep hittin' repeat

And it's the same sad song
The jukebox plays
Baby, I just don't know what to say
Baby, I just don't know what to say
Baby, I just don't know what to say
Baby, I just don't know what to say
Oh, Baby, I just don't know what to say

Up

 

 


I know how to lose you

I don't know how to keep a good thing
I've lost it all before
Had a sweet girl back awhile
I walked right through her door

Out of town, out of state
Out of all she could see through
Don't think I'll ever find love again
But I know how to lose you

Down the hall, she turns off the lights
I've left before the dawn
No words said, not one tear shed
But for awhile you're gone

Then I'm neatly dressed in my emptiness
Out on the bright avenue
Don't think I'll ever find love again
But I know how to lose you

You know the story, still I hope for myself
Like a man who plays the lottery, expecting great wealth
No regard for his mental state, his emotions or his health
Like this was all happening to some other version of himself

People see me on the street
They don't recall your name
It's like they never seen us before
How well I hide the pain

And tip my hat and crack a grin
And remark on a sky so blue
Don't think I'll ever find love again
But I know how to lose you

Don't think I'll ever find love again
But I know how to lose you

Up

 

 


You're all the reason i need

I get up and I go to work
Filthy mind and a dirty shirt
Just like a million other jerks
I don't know what else to do

I wouldn't say I have a plan as such
Tryin’ not to burn the clutch
Every little thing used to mean so much
Now it's all about you

CHORUS:
You're all the reason I need
You're all the reason I need
This love is what I believe
You're all the reason I need

Sometimes the day crawls by
Slow enough to make you cry
I catch my breath and I wonder why
Then I think about you

CHORUS

I'm just a man now baby
When you cut me I bleed
I do it all for your love baby
You're all the reason I need

Sunset and there's no excuse
For all the hell that I break loose
Honey I'm runnin’ out of juice
Comin’ home to you

Just another day of strife
One man one wife
I hope I bring something to your life
Cause' you know you do

CHORUS

Up

 

 


One of the damn days

It was Monday or Tuesday
Or one of them damn days
I was staring backwards from the sun
Through an unrelenting haze

I was shaking, reaching for my cup
Trying to stir my life around
'Cause I thought I saw my baby
On the other side of town

They were just ten and eleven
And almost seventeen
She was barely thirty-five herself
When I turned drunk and mean

Someone said they seen 'em back
Why would they come around
But I thought I saw my baby
On the other side of town

Now the drunkard, he will go to lengths
To justify his state
But the truth is even one's too much
When a hundred will not sate

Like a wrecking ball slung through the lives
Of all to whom he's bound
Well, I thought I saw my baby
On the other side of town

Well, I thought if I could make amends
And somehow get in touch
But then I had to take a drink
And it was all too much

I drank the whole rest of the day
I drank that bottle down
'Cause I thought I saw my baby
On the other side of town

It was Monday or Tuesday
Or one of them damn days
They keep comin’ ever after
Nothing changes, nothing stays

Just a flickering in black and white
An image with no sound
And I think I see my baby
On the other side of town

Up

 

 


No wicked grin

I can see by your tears
With all of the years
You still hear the call of the blue

And I can see by your face
It's a lonely old place
You've gone and gotten into

I've got this smile
I've had for a while
It ain’t exactly brand new

It's no wicked grin
It's good and worn in
And I'd like to give it to you

Through trouble and pain
Through wind and through rain
I think it will fit you just right

When you gave it to me
I couldn't be free
Now I'm standing right here in your light

And when your life's upside down
It might look like a frown
Depends on how you wanna see

So here's lookin’ at you
And when I'm upside down too
It looks like you're smilin' to me

I can see by your tears
With all of the years
You still hear the call of the blue

And I can see by your face
It's a lonely old place
You've gone and gotten into

I've got this smile
I've had for a while
It ain’t exactly brand new

It's no wicked grin
It's good and worn in
And I'd like to give it to you

Up

 

 


Give it up

So you take what you want
Like you know what you need
And you run like a train
'Til your mind doesn't strain to believe

And you see what you see
And it's thin as a wire
And it trips you up
Every time you show your naked desire

Give it up, give it up
Hasn't got you nowhere
Live it up, live it up
There's folks who love you back there

And if I see Sally
I'm gonna tell her you care
With that nasty old habit
And not even a dollar to spare

'Cause she may still wanna help you
For the very last time
‘Cause she knows how it works
She knows you have to make up your own mind

Give it up, give it up
That limb is gonna break
Give it up, give it up
Just how much more can you take?

Give it up, give it up
You know you got to do your share
Give it up, give it up
Somebody loves you back there

And the nights get longer
You wish the day didn't come
And the pounding in your head
Says you're hell-bent on killing someone

The pain on your face
It's like a beast in control
And it's feelin' like somethin's
Been torn from that hole in your soul

Give it up, give it up
You got to do your part
Give it up, give it up
All you gotta do is start
Give it up, give it up
While there's someone to save
Give it up, give it up
Before we're cryin’ in someone's grave

Give it up, give it up
Before we're cryin’ in someone's grave

Up

 

 


Blues can't even find me

World is closin' in on me
Don't know what to do
Can't see the big picture anymore
If there's even one to view

Wife keeps pushin' buttons
Spend all day starin' at a little screen
I'm feelin' invisible
The blues can’t even find me

Wish I had a name for feelin’ nothin'
Wish I still had my old address
Where anyone could come on over
And just put me in a mess

Now I’m tellin' everybody
When we'll be takin' our next breath
Blues can’t even find me
Like we never even met

She cried all the way to Memphis
With the kids in back
And only me to talk it out with
Used to be like that

Now there's fifty people in the car
And the kids are grown
And I've heard her side fifty times
Talkin' on her cell phone

Now we're just so lonely
And there's no turnin' back
It's virtually impossible
But I can live with that

I wouldn't want in on this train wreck
Wouldn't wanna be on this last date
Now the blues can’t even find me
All I know to do is wait

Now the blues can’t even find me
All I know to do is wait

Up

 

 



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