It’s fitting that when you buy a vinyl copy of this new Lilly Hiatt record Walking Proof you get a colouring in page with it, since her songs are about finding the confidence to be yourself and make your own individual mark on the world – even if that means shading outside the lines a little.
Her last album Trinity Lane was written after a difficult time in her life and Walking Proof finds her in a more contented mood. She also extends her eye outwards, from a place of self awareness to think more about the other people in her life. Musically it feels equally as relaxed, her version of Americana is more closely aligned to alternative jangle rock and it’s super cool sounding overall.
Opening song Rae is about a friend, one who she shares a history with and who has been through some shit too. Nobody gets it like you do, Rae, she sings with her effortless, and distinctive laid back vocal style. Together they find a way forward, wild spirits untamed.
Hiatt is a great writer of place too, on songs like P Town she gives us just the right amount of detail to make you feel like you’re there with that distant couple as they walk over the bridge to their separate futures. Some Kind of Drug takes on the city she lives in and all the complexities of Nashville.
Candy Lunch includes a drive down Broadway, and it feels like we’re in the backseat just hanging out with her. Her voice floats over this song, as chilled out as the message: embrace your weird self and don’t let anyone else dictate your life.
The title track is about touring and the problems of being in a rock and roll band. I could tell you that it’s easy / but that wouldn’t be the truth. She gets by with a little help from her friends though, as this one features some sweet fiddle from Amanda Shires herself.
Being confident in yourself doesn’t mean that everything is simple, of course. Never Play Guitar is about the challenges of songwriting and how she needs her own space. The album ends with a quiet ‘Scream’ and a reaffirmation of her self and how she ‘ain’t slowing down for nobody’. Open a window and watch her go.
It’s sad that we can’t get out to see a live show right now but let’s embrace the positives: we can eat candy for lunch and get happily lost in Walking Proof. You have to find the light, and the colour, wherever you can.
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