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Hiatt first MusicFest headliner announced for 2013

By TERRY FARRELL
January 25, 2013 · Updated 9:05 AM
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JOHN HIATT is the first headliner announced for the 2013 Vancouver Island MusicFest at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds. / Photo submitted

You might know John Hiatt’s songs better than you know John Hiatt.

The songs include Have a Little Faith in Me, Memphis in the Meantime, Thing Called Love, Angel Eyes, Riding with the King, Feels Like Rain and Cry Love.

His tunes have been covered by Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris and many others.

Hiatt, nominated for several Grammies, is a fine guitarist, distinctive singer and terrific live performer.

And he’s the first headliner announced for the 2013 Vancouver Island MusicFest.

In fact, July 13 at VIMF in Courtenay is the only 2013 tour date listed so far at www.johnhiatt.com.

“I’m thrilled,” said MusicFest artistic director Doug Cox, the man who booked Hiatt. “I’ve been a huge fan since I met him about 1980 when he was playing the Edmonton Folk Festival.

“He’s one of my all-time favourite songwriters and singers, and guitar players.”

Cox said Hiatt, who was in all-world guitarist Ry Cooder’s band many years ago, is “known for having some of the best bands in the world. He’s known for bringing out these fabulous players that people have never heard of.”

Cox couldn’t name any of the people in Hiatt’s current touring band, but heard Hiatt with “a killer band” last year in Nashville.

Hiatt has serious staying power. Last year, he released his 23rd album, Mystic Pinball.

Six CDs have been released since 1996 reviewing the career of the prolific and consistently fine songwriter.

His musical career began when he moved to Nashville at 18, moving to California and opening for performers including Leo Kottke, whom VIMF is bringing to the Native Sons’ Hall in Courtenay on May 11.

Hiatt, an Indianapolis native, dabbled in a variety of music styles from rock and roll to New Wave before a rootsy blend of rock, folk, blues and country exposed him to a wider audience with his 1987 album Bring the Family. It charted with the help of several songs that became hits for other people.

Beside talent, Hiatt has exemplified perseverance in a career that shows no sign of ending.

He lives in Nashville again, this time as one of the most respected singer-songwriters in U.S. popular music.

For more about MusicFest, visit www.islandmusicfest.com.

“We’ve got lots of stuff booked, but we’re waiting on some other headliners,” Cox added.

editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com