I had the chance to see John Hiatt live once and what struck was the ease, pleasure and craftsmanship with which he approached country from different angles: rock, blues, ballad, soul... He knows where he comes from and he knows how to incorporate tradition to take it further.
"The Tiki bar" is Hiatt's return to rock 'n roll. The opening track and "All the lilacs in Ohio" are my favourites: clever, straightforward, melodic, powerful rock songs. Then there's the dirty blues in "I know a place", and the soulful "Hanging around here" and "My old friend." "Farther stars" is a suprising last track, its ambient guitar layers stretching over 7 minutes, as if Mississippi got an hip update.
"Something broken" and his reprise of "I'll never get over you" simply do not appeal to me, they just sound a bit to slow, hence the 4 stars.
Still, this is a great Hiatt album. And if you are new to him and you like this one, check out the excellently rocking "Perfectly good guitar" as well.