New West Records, 2020
With her famous surname and the album’s opening shimmering tremolo guitar chords you’d think you were in for a straight country trip. There’s certainly a strong country streak, of the Nikki Lane kind, that runs through Walking Proof, but just as equally there’s an indie rock aesthetic that runs from Liz Phair to Jenny Lewis on this strong set of songs.
Lyrically, Hiatt is right on her game on this, her fourth album. She has a way of taking the confessional route that never feels indulgent or self-pitying. She balances rich observational writing with sensitive and heartfelt empathy and advice for herself and others. This is an album about Hiatt and her friends and family as much as it addresses reaching that point in your life where you feel you’ve weathered the storm yet you’re still acutely aware of life’s warning signs and pitfalls.
On paper Hiatt’s words wouldn’t have the same effect but that’s the power and magic of music, and melody is king on Walking Proof. Hiatt has a knack of weaving notes into endlessly catchy patterns. ‘Some Kind Of Drug’, pushes and pulls over an equally infectious electric guitar, ‘Brightest Star ‘is a light-footed lyrical dance. ‘Never Play Guitar’ channels Tom Petty and ‘P-Town’ is a gloriously ragged soul shakedown on yet another strong Lilly Hiatt album.