Americana with grit
Earlier this month Nashville-based singer-songwriter Lilly Hiatt was sharing a stage in Tennessee with compatriots the Secret Sisters.
The Greystones knows all about Laura and Lydia Rogers, who received a standing ovation at the end of their performance there at the end of the last month.
Now it’s the turn of Lilly to make an impact in Sheffield 11 as she appears on Tuesday (April 24) alongside guitarist John Condit and bass player Robert Hudson on a brief UK tour.
Both the band members are on her latest album, Trinity Lane, which is where she lives in East Nashville.
Don’t think, though, that as a singer and guitarist Lilly shares too much musical territory with the harmony-driven, country-rooted approach of the Secret Sisters.
While the sisters look to the likes of the Everly Brothers and Paul Simon for inspiration, Lilly mixes plenty of grit into her Americana, soaking up across-the board influences – Pearl Jam, Prince, Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and a key role model, her father, the revered singer-songwriter John Hiatt.
Trinity Lane shows she knows how to rock and has an ear for a melody but there is no escaping songs whose lyrics expose deep-running emotions.
Then again, they no doubt reflect some of the extremely tough times the writer has been through.
Lilly’s life has not only been clouded by the heartbreak of break-up but also a (successful) battle with alcohol and, above all, her mother taking her own life when Lilly was a baby.
She was raised by her father and his wife, Nancy, and struggled throughout her childhood and early adult life with how to process the resentment and grief.
Yet it’s not all darkness. “There is a lot of hope in the album.
“There is a lot of pain but this album is a more mature response to that pain.
“It’s taking responsibility for those emotions and realising what they are. A little brighter perspective.
“It took some time to get there.”
Trinity Lane is full of gifts and full of guts – an album that is a healing process and a road map forward, filled with Hiatt’s wildly expressive approach to songwriting and stark, honest lyrics.
To get there, she finally had to put her faith into something she couldn’t see, as she says on the title track of her album, whiuch ius named after the area where she lives.
But to hear that journey, all you have to do is listen.
It’s a chronicle of overcoming heartbreak and addiction: Different, I Guess is a slow folk ode to losing love, and Imposter is about the difficulties her father faced raising his daughter, and the sparks of her mother that still shine through.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad and the strength it took him to keep me going and to bring me to Nashville,” she says about Imposter.
“Just to keep us together and keep us going, that’s always meant a lot to me.
“For a long time I felt pretty angry with my mother.
“But through maturation, I feel like I understand her more these days.”
For tickets to Lilly Hiatt at The Greystones,go online at WeGotTickets