John Hiatt has nothing left to prove when it comes to his musical legacy. The Indiana-born singer-songwriter is so esteemed by fans, contemporaries, and critics that the Los Angeles Times quote on his own website as “one of the most astute singer-songwriters of the last 40 years” seems lackluster. What speaks more to John Hiatt's lasting musical impact is that artists from Chaka Khan to Bob Dylan and countless others have recorded his timeless tunes, with a little Delbert McClinton thrown in, too.

John Hiatt has never stopped making music since he moved to Nashville at 18, making $25 a week as a “house” songwriter for Tree Music Company.

This initial break came when Three Dog Night recorded his song, “Sure as I’m Sittin’ Here,” in 1973. The Top 40 hit for the band earned Hiatt a contract with Epic Records, and 23 albums have followed for John Hiatt.

John Hiatt lived a lifetime in many ways, even in his youth. He endured the death of his older brother, Michael, by suicide, and his father's death soon after from a lengthy illness. Like so many artists, his love of music was his sanctuary and refuge from the stress of his life, and from age 11, John Hiatt honed his craft in local clubs, and it wasn't long before his following grew, and he became a regular at places reaching from local haunts to Nashville’s known enclaves.

Nine Grammy nominations and nearly every form of recognition for songwriters have come along the way, and John Hiatt can play anywhere he chooses now, at 66.

This morning, November 24, the acclaimed artist took the stage at “CBS This Morning” for “Saturday Sessions” for a three-song set from his first new album in four years, “The Eclipse Sessions.”

It’s more than evident that John Hiatt still has much to say in his music, but he admits that the road gets a little tougher as the years go by.

Elder confessions

Hiatt has been warming audiences to “The Eclipse Sessions” with shows here and there for a while, including a show with Lyle Lovett about a month ago, and another in his home state of Indiana. He doesn't mind reaching back into his rich catalog of songs, and he was decidedly firm about loving “singing and playing” as he explained earlier this month in a November 9 interview with the Ottawa Citizen.

The miles between the few hours on stage are the hardest on the Americana statesman, and “what you pay for” as the ticket buyer. The travel gets him “weary,” but he never tires of taking audiences back through his years of songs or offering new ones, and plans to “change it up every night” for the 20 shows planned on his coming tour for the new album.

John Hiatt has famously sung duets with Rosanne Cash, Nick Lowe, and Elvis Costello. The master songwriter thrives on diversity and he loves the infusion of young talent, such as that brought by whiz kid, Yates McKendree, son of keyboardist, Kevin McKendree. Hiatt unabashedly calls Yates “a prodigy,” and besides, playing several instruments, the younger McKendree engineered the album, which was largely recorded in Kentucky during the solar eclipse of 2017.

Sumptuous selections

It's a difficult task for any musician to encapsulate an album or his personal history in a set of a few minutes on a national stage. From start to finish, John Hiatt gave a glimpse of why so many artists consider every stroke of his pen to be the making of classic lyrics. Opening with “Over the Hill,” the acclaimed singer-songwriter embraces life and love completely, with the understanding that romance can be no teenage fling. “You talk about love/I talk about love/I don't know any better than to dream,” Hiatt's words echo.

A little later, the lyrics attest, “I'm long in the tooth,” but that it's the “gristle and mellow” from the bites of life ingested that gives one the strength “to forgive all of the sticks and stones.” Nothing could be more quintessentially John Hiatt.

Next comes “Cry to Me,” a basically hopeful, there-for-you ballad that pledges “I'm probably gonna let you down, but I won't keep you down.” Bonds forged in the dark times can run the deepest.

Poor imitation of God” is an unapologetic, truthful shuffle that brings an irresistible smile. The song embraces the struggle of divine, romantic love and self-love at once, with a wink and a nod. “I can do the devil in my sleep/All the day waiting for my midnight creep/If you love me, don't expect a lot” reminds the verse before the repeating title line.

Truth, wit, and wisdom come together in unexpected ways for John Hiatt.