Picks and Pans Review: Stolen Moments

updated 07/02/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/02/1990 AT 01:00 AM EDT

John Hiatt

Hiatt shrewdly tailors his introspective, often rueful, Memphis-flavored tunes to his angular, raw-boned, pungent vocal style. The results make listening to him a bit like overhearing the ruminations of a frequently wronged, always hopeful man set to an occasionally broken heartbeat. It's eavesdropping you can dance to.

"Back of My Mind," "Listening to Old Voices" and "Thirty Years of Tears" all attempt to plumb the presumed wisdom of middle age. Hiatt toys with mild, loose-gaited enthusiasm on "Real Fine Love" and "Through Your Hands"—the latter a duet with hearty-voiced newcomer Karen Peris. But the title song, with its count-your-blessings orientation, is more typical.

Singing over simple rockabilly arrangements with small groups of musicians, Hiatt occasionally goes sour and nasal. But he's Dylanesque in positive ways too, not the least of which is an ability to articulate the most common concerns in uncommonly trenchant ways. (A & M)

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