John Hiatt Wanders Through Nashville In ‘Over the Hill’ Video: Premiere
If there’s a unique look to John Hiatt’s video for “Over the Hill,” premiering exclusively below, it’s with good reason.
The clip depicts a nattily attired Hiatt cruising around various parts of Nashville, including Love Circle overlooking the city, with guitar in hand and singing the song — but in this case, really singing the song. “We didn’t do it to a playback,” Hiatt tells Billboard. “It’s mainly me wandering around a few places while the camera rolls. They’d play me a little bit of playback so I could get the tempo and I just kept singing the song out in the air.
“That was kind of fun. I hadn’t done a video in so long, it was kind of a kick for me. I just kind of walked around and sang the song — like the kind of thing I do when I’m at home, anyway.”
Hiatt, in fact, hasn’t done anything related to new music in a while. “Over the Hill” hails from the new The Eclipse Sessions, due out Oct. 12. It’s Hiatt’s first new release in four years, and he freely acknowledges that he muse had escaped him during much of that time.
“The last record I made (2014’s Terms of My Surrender) I was just into my sixties. I think I was getting further into my sixties, and I just didn’t know what I was gonna write about next,” Hiatt, who’s now 66, explains. “I was kind of paused, momentarily. I didn’t know what kind of music or record I wanted to make. I need to have group of songs and some musical idea that involves other players before I feel like, ‘OK, it’s time to make a record now.’ I didn’t have that. It kept not appearing.”
But, Hiatt adds, he was not particularly alarmed or panicked by that creative impasse. “I was fine with it,” he says. “I was patient. In my younger days I’d had the dreaded writer’s block only because I told myself I had writer’s block. I knew that was a self-imposed, kind of a jail sentence, and I didn’t want to do that. I just wasn’t that concerned, and then (songs) just started coming, all of a sudden.”
Hiatt now considers The Eclipse Sessions — named because it was partly recorded during last summer’s solar eclipse at producer Kevin McKendree’s farmhouse studio in Franklin, Tenn. — a key album in his lengthy career. He considers it of a piece with 1987’s lauded Bring The Family and 2000’s Grammy Award-nominated Crossing Muddy Waters, for both its introspection and its stark, small band format that provides breathing space for rockers and ballads alike (and showcases the guitar skills of producer McKendree’s teenage son Yates). “There’s something in the tone of the record in the way it happened and thee playing and the way the songs hang together that seem to connect in some kind of way, to expand on an emotion — or emotions,” explains Hiatt, before adding with a laugh that, “A lot, I think, it’s the same old shit…
“I’m fascinated by, ‘How did I get there? Why did I get here? Where am I? Where do I go from here,” says Hiatt, who kicks off his Eclipse Sessions Tour on Oct. 20 in New Orleans. “I think all my work, really, is about somebody who’s willing to embrace change. We’re so fearful of it on the one hand, and I go through it kicking and screaming, but it’s inevitable, I suppose. And I think that’s good. If I was an online dater, my profile would say ‘Loves change. Wants to try new things…'”