For the second straight year, StorageMart is giving away a Roots & Blues Whole Hog VIP Getaway. Two lucky winners will each receive a pair of “Whole Hog” VIP Passes and hotel accommodations for the Roots & Blues & BBQ Festival, to be held September 20-22 in Columbia, Missouri.
One of the really exciting moments for fans of Americana during this year’s Roots & Blues Festival will come Friday evening when country rocker Steve Earle and blues rocker John Hiatt (each of whom could easily be headlining this fest as a solo performer) take the stage together.
John Hiatt has been respected as a performer for the last 25 years, but his career as a successful songwriter goes back nearly 40. His first hit was ‘Sure As I’m Sitting Here’, recorded by Three Dog Night in 1973. Hiatt would later see his songs performed by the likes of Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Roseanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Nick Lowe, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker and Buddy Guy.
Hiatt’s career as a performer didn’t really take off until his 1987 release “Bring the Family”, which featured a supergroup backing band of Nick Lowe, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner. It was Hiatt’s first album to enter the Billboard Top 200 (peaking at #107), and features fan favorite tunes ‘Thank You Girl’, ‘Thing Called Love’ and ‘Have a Little Faith in Me.’
He earned his first Grammy nomination in 1995 for his album “Walk On.” He was nominated again in 2000 for “Crossing Muddy Waters.
Like Hiatt, Steve Earle also first gained recognition writing songs for others. The Texan began his career in Nashville as songwriter and bassist for Guy Clark. Johnny Lee recorded ‘When You Fall in Love’ (co-written by Earle) and took it to #14 on the country charts. That same year rockabilly legend Carl Perkins recorded Earle’s ‘Mustang Wine.’
Earle released his first full-length album, “Guitar Town”, in 1986. The title track would reach the Top Ten that year and the follow-up single ‘Goodbye’s All We’ve Got Left’ would do the same the following year.
In 1989, Earle would release what he referred to as the world’s first blend of heavy metal and bluegrass with the album “Copperhead Road.” It would peak at #56 on the Billboard 200 charts and earn nearly universal critical acclaim.
A five-year recording hiatus due to his issues with substance abuse would follow before Earle released “Train A Comin’” in 1995. Featuring guest turns by Norman Blake and Emmylou Harris and covers of songs from Townes Van Zandt, the Beatles and the Melodians along with nine original tunes, the album would earn Earle his first Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
Earle continues to tour and record and has expanded his artist expression into the writing of fiction, poetry and even plays. He has also tried his hand at acting, perhaps most notably playing recurring characters in the HBO dramas “The Wire” and “Treme.”
Be sure to take advantage of the unique opportunity to see two powerhouse songwriters performing together when John Hiatt and Steve Earle take the stage together on Friday, September 20th at the Roots & Blues Festival in Columbia, MO.