John Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas Band will release Leftover Feelings on May 21st via New West Records. The 11-song set was produced by Jerry Douglas and recorded at Historic RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tenn. Leftover Feelings is neither a bluegrass album nor a return to Hiatt’s 1980s days with slide guitar greats Ry Cooder and Sonny Landreth. There’s no drummer, yet these grooves are deep and true.The collaboration follows Hiatt’s 2018 studio album The Eclipse Sessions.
Historic RCA Studio B was one of the cradles of the “Nashville Sound” in the 1950s and 60s. A sophisticated style characterized by background vocals and strings, the Nashville Sound and Studio B played major roles in establishing Nashville’s identity as an international recording center. Hitmakers in Studio B included Country Music Hall of Fame members Eddy Arnold, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, and more. Songs recorded within its walls span decades, genres and emotions, with Presley’s forlorn “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and Parton’s autobiographical “Coat of Many Colors” among them.
Built when Hiatt was five years old, Studio B was designed for music to be made in real time by musicians listening to each other and reacting in the emotional moment. That’s what happened here: Five players on the studio floor, making decisions on instinct rather than calculation. “I was immediately taken back to 1970, when I got to Nashville,” said Hiatt upon entering the studio. A half-century ago, Hiatt lived in a ratty, $15-a-week room on Nashville’s 16th Avenue, less than a mile away from RCA and Columbia studios that were the heartbeat of what had come to be known as “Music Row.” “You can’t not be aware of the records that were made there…Elvis, the Everly Brothers, Waylon Jennings doing ‘Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line’ (which is referenced in the new song “The Music is Hot”). But that history wasn’t intimidating, because it’s such a comfortable place to make music.”
Look for John Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas on October 1st at the Ryman Auditorium.