Sunday Morning Song – John Hiatt – The Music is Hot

Still beaming from the experience of seeing John Hiatt and the Jerry Douglas Band live earlier this week. This song was one of several that Hiatt performed off his new album Leftover Feelings. He introduced it by saying that when he first moved to Tennessee from Indiana as a young man, he got to know a women who absolutely loved music, and would listen to it all the time on a little transistor radio tuned to station WSM while she did all things that a mother does to make her house run. And so he wrote this song with her in mind.

I love how Hiatt puts you right there in the woman’s daily life and how integral music was to her.

Hope everyone has a nice Sunday!


Sheets dance on the line
White as the clouds gone by
Screen door kicking time
As kids melt into the sky
And you’re making your moves
Trying just to stay alive
And the mus
ic is hot

On your transistor radio
A song about trains
You can hear that whistle blow
Waylon walks the line
Merle’s mama tries to tell him so
And the music is hot

You got a story ’bout twenty miles long
You got a tune like a number one song
You got the sweat like the shirt off my back
You got the heart let me open it a crack
Fiddles and steel takin’ you higher
Passed cotton fields and telephone wires
Out to the church and the gospel choir
And you’re g

Sun going down
You’re scrounging to feed the dog
You’re wearing a dress
You saw in a catalog
The crickets have started
To sing with those old bull frogs
And the music is

You tuck in the kids
And think of a nice long bath
You notice your mom
Staring back from a photograph
Quick as you turn
You’re pretty sure you hear her laugh
And the music is hot

You got a story ’bout twenty miles long
You got a tune like a number one song
You got the sweat like the shirt off my back
You got the heart let me open it a crack
Fiddles and steel takin’ you higher
Passed cotton fields and telephone wires
Beyond the church and the gospel choir
And you’re gone

Van Morrison – Caravan Bonus! Live versions

Earlier today I posted my last pick in Hans Postcards song draft – Caravan by Van Morrison. In researching the post, I found 2 great live versions that I thought I would put in a separate post. I love hearing live versions of songs – obviously in person is the best but if done right, a recording of a live performance can be an entirely different listening experience than hearing the studio version – its the artist and band interpreting their work in that moment, and sometimes the energy and spirit of the song comes through much better than the studio version.

The first live version of Caravan I’d like to feature is from Van Morrison’s 1974 double live album Its Too Late To Stop Now. Recorded during Morrison’s three-month tour in May-June 1973 with his eleven-piece band, the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, its a bit faster paced than the studio version and comes toward the end of the disc. I love Van’s soulful vocal performance as well as the 4 piece string section.

The author Nick Hornby, in his book, Songbook, about his 31 favorite songs, names the live version of Caravan from this album as the song he wants played at his funeral. To quote him: “in the long, vamped passage right before the climax Morrison’s band seems to isolate a moment somewhere between life and its aftermath, a big, baroque entrance hall of a place where you can stop and think about everything that has gone before.” On a personal note, I’ve told family and friends that I’d like Caravan and Drift Away by Dobie Gray played at my funeral, as they are my two favorite all time songs.

The second live version I’d like to feature is Van Morrison’s performance as part of the Band‘s farewell concert held on November 25, 1976 (Thanksgiving Day) immortalized in the documentary The Last Waltz. I love how he builds the song into a crescendo and then just walks off the stage. According the Songfacts:

Music journalist Greil Marcus credited Morrison’s “Caravan” with turning the energy of the show around and sparking a strong second half of performances by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, the Band, and others.

From Wikipedia: When asked about his enjoyment performing in The Last Waltz, Eric Clapton commented that “For me, Muddy [Waters] and Van [Morrison] steal the show. Van doing [“Caravan”] with the leg kicks. Some of the greatest live music you’ll ever see.” I would definitely agree about the leg kicks!

Van Morrison – Caravan

I’ve been participating in a song draft run by Hans Postcard. Here’s my last pick, and the last pick of the entire draft!

Well, here we are, the last song pick of the draft!  I’d like to thank Hans and Badfinger20 at PowerPop for inviting me to be a part of it.  We’ve heard songs across genres, across decades, and across continents (thanks Aphoristical!) and I’ve really enjoyed being exposed to so many great songs and getting to know other fellow music aficionados.

For my last pick, I’m going with Van Morrison’s Caravan, off his 1970 album Moondance. Moondance has always been one of my favorite albums and I say that not being super familiar with the rest of Van Morrison’s work.  It has always just been one of those albums that I connect with in a special way – its imagery of getting caught in the rain, romantic autumn dances in the moonlight, and traveling gypsies sitting around campfires telling stories never fails to move me – its like a parallel world where all the problems and annoyances of everyday life are gone and your feel in touch with the universe in a spiritual (mystical you might say) way.

Caravan is my favorite song on the album – in fact, its one of my favorite songs ever.  Remember back in week 3 I said that Drift Away by Dobie Gray was my favorite – this is the other one!  From the opening tinkling piano notes, it just takes me to another plane.  Like then whole album, its pastoral, natural imagery just connects with me. The imagery of this group of folks sharing each other’s company, enjoying life, moving on to the next place, all with a radio playing music along the way.  I especially love the lyrics about music and the radio:

Turn up your radio and let me hear the song
Switch on your electric light
Then we can get down to what is really wrong
I long just to hold you tight, so maybe I can feel you
Sweet lady of the night, I shall reveal you

If you won’t turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher radio
Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know it’s got soul
Radio, radio turn it up, hmm

I just love how the sax line punctuates the lyrics, the la la la’s, the whole thing.

Van Morrison recorded this album while living in Woodstock, NY.  The radio reference in Caravan has an interesting genesis.  According to SongFacts:

Morrison’s house was a mile away from any other houses, but while living there he swore he could hear a radio playing as though it were in the same room. This mystery fascinated Morrison.

“I could hear the radio like it was in the same room. I don’t know how to explain it. There was some story about an underground passage under the house I was living in, rumors from kids and stuff and I was beginning to think it was true. How can you hear someone’s radio from a mile away, as if it was playing in your own house? So I had to put that into the song, It was a must” (quoted from Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison, by Brian Hinton, 2000, as referenced in Wikipedia.)

Definitely adds to the mystical element of the song, I think! Again, thanks for the wonderful musical journey on our little music blog caravan if you will, these last 10 rounds, and I can’t wait til we do it again next summer!

John Hiatt Live with the Jerry Douglas Band

This past Monday night my wife and I saw John Hiatt live at the Rams Head On Stage venue in Annapolis MD. It was my first concert in probably 2 years. Words cannot begin to describe the absolute joy I felt sitting in the Rams Head experiencing one of my favorite artists live again. I felt like a parched man wandering through the desert who had finally found an oasis to quench his thirst. A battery that was about tapped out that suddenly was recovering its charge. I felt I was connected to that mystical musical source that sustains my soul and provides its purest power in the form of live music. It was such an incredible feeling.

Hiatt was on tour to promote his new album, Leftover Feelings, a collaboration with dobro master Jerry Douglas, whose band was backing Hiatt on this tour. Consisting of Mike Seal on electric guitar, Daniel Kimbro on stand up bass, Christian Sedelmyer on fiddle, and Douglas on dobro and lap steel guitar, the band really brought out the country and Americana aspects that are an inherent part of much of Hiatt’s music (and yes even a bit of bluegrass). Hiatt played a number of tunes off the new album, while sprinkling in songs from over his entire career. It was a real kick to hear some of his classics brought to live in this new way by the band. Here’s a video I shot of Slow Turning, off the album of the same name from 1988 – note the audience reaction when it gets to the lyrical reference to Charlie Watts.

John Hiatt – Slow Turning, Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis MD, 11-15-21

Hiatt was in fine form, and it seemed to me that he was really enjoying having a band backing him to bring added life to his songs. I have seen him a number of times over the last 5-6 years, and with the exception of the 30 year anniversary concert tour for Slow Turning (where he was backed up by the Goners), its always been him solo acoustic. He was ducking and weaving and stomping around on stage like he was 30 years younger.

Highlights of the concert for me were Feels Like Rain , another tune off of Slow Turning, Have a Little Faith in Me from Bring the Family (my wife and I’s wedding song, done solo as the first encore), as well as Your Dad Did (also from Bring the Family). In all the years I’ve been seeing Hiatt live (going back to the late 80s, I’ve never heard it live. Your Dad Did tells the humorous story of a new Dad with his young family, realizing with some degree of surprise and horror that he’s not that different from his own Dad, I think something that a lot of us realize as we get older. It was a real treat to hear if finally live after all these years.

After a 18 song, close to 90 minute set, Hiatt closed the show with Riding with the King, a classic older song from 1983 Here’s the video I shot of that one – they really burned it up and you can see what I mean about Hiatt having a ball.

I’m still riding the high of the concert the next day, and am so grateful that Maryland has such a high vaccination rate that I felt comfortable attending this show and that Hiatt felt comfortable enough to tour. Hopefully this is a sign that we are inching closer to something approaching normalcy, at least in regards to live music. If you get the chance, I highly recommend checking him out live!


  • That Thing You Need (Solo)
  • All the Lilacs in Ohio
  • Perfectly Good Guitar
  • Slow Turning
  • Crossing Muddy Waters
  • Long Black Electric Cadillac
  • The Music is Hot
  • I’m in Asheville
  • Your Dad Did
  • Feels Like Rain (with Jerry Douglas)
  • LIft Up Every Stone (with Jerry Douglas)
  • Little Goodnight
  • Master of Disaster
  • Mississippi Phone Booth
  • Drive South
  • Thing Called Love


  • Have a Little Faith in Me (solo)
  • RIding With the King