Lilly Hiatt Returns with Strong Songwriting on Poppy Americana-rocker ‘Lately’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Lilly Hiatt’s last record, the fantastic Walking Proof, had the unfortunate distinction of being released on March 27, 2020, just days after California issued stay at home orders and the rest of the country (mostly) followed. Admittedly, not the best time for the world to focus on new music.

Lately, the 10-song follow up, thankfully is being released at a more opportune time and, if there is any justice in the world, will find the audience it truly deserves. The songs here are a perfect continuation of Walking Proof, especially the musically breezy title track with deeper lyrical meaning, summing up the exhaustion and loneliness many felt over the past year. That song in particular exemplifies the appeal of Hiatt, getting you to sing along to a song that has deep meaning on different levels. The same can be said of “Better”. Like many dealing with the isolation and uncertainty, Hiatt was not immune to these same feelings dealing with her own depression at the time.

“Last year was tough. That’s an understatement for certain. Tears were shed, lives were lost, and lonely was a way of life. I have always felt lonely, but never gone to the depths of solitude that I had in 2020,” she said recently. “The irony of that is, I was not alone at all in that space. Everyone had lost something, and we all were trying to rebuild our lives as we knew them. As a means of keeping sane, I started to write songs. Some of them sucked. I kept doing it though, because I had nothing else to fill my cup.”  

And that sadness can be heard throughout the record, but that emotion is definitely not a defining trait of Lately. There are also some remarkably cheerier (at least musically) moments as well, specifically on the twangy, driving “Face,” likely one of her best songs to date. “Peach” and “Gem,” though a little slower, also boast some of those bluesier moments felt on “Face”.

Like her earlier efforts, Lately combines Americana and folk with Indie Pop and hints of classic rock. Hiatt co-produced this one alongside her drummer Kate Haldrup in her hometown of Nashville.

Photo by Dylan Reyes

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