Singer-songwriter Lilly Hiatt, daughter of gritty roots-rock favorite John, locates a moment of regret with piercing effectiveness on her new breakup album, Trinity Lane (New West). On “The Night David Bowie Died,” the news of Bowie’s death fills her with sadness and brings up memories that she wants to share with her lover—but she’s alone. As the song unfolds, she wallows in that disappointment, but it’s unclear who ended things.
She’s addressing her ex after the fact, apologizing for her inability to provide what he wanted and for some ill-defined bad behavior on her part. “I’m sorry I was such a bitch that night in the city,” she sings, and then pleads, “Baby, I want ya back.” As the song concludes, it becomes clear that she was the one who left, and that her lines about cleaning out her belongings from their shared house were describing something she did by choice, in a fit of pique. “I love you, baby,” she sings. “What we had, it was good enough.” You can listen below.
Hiatt, who performs tomorrow night at the Beat Kitchen, moves through a wide variety of pop-rock sounds on the new album, emphasizing the twang in her grainy voice and digging deep into grungy grooves a la Neil Young’s Crazy Horse. Even if Tom Petty’s death didn’t have his music on my mind, his influence would be plain as day on the powerful album closer, “See Ya Later.” As good as the performances are, they’re not the most special thing about Trinity Lane: that distinction goes to Hiatt’s keen eye and ability to see a story from multiple angles.
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