Singer-songwriter John Hiatt, whose songs have been recorded by a wide range of artists from Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson to Bob Dylan and Iggy Pop, will be honored next month by the performing-rights organization BMI with the presentation of its Troubadour Award.
At the private ceremony in Nashville on September 9th — the week of the Americana Music Festival & Conference — Hiatt will become only the third such honoree of this particular award, after 2015 recipient Robert Earl Keen and John Prine, who received the award in 2018. The honor, according to a statement from BMI, “celebrates writers who craft for the sake of the song and set the pace for generations of writers who will follow.”
A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Hiatt previously received the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting in 2008 and has accumulated a total of nine Grammy nominations over the past four decades. His 24th studio LP, The Eclipse Sessions, was released in 2018, 44 years after his debut album, Hangin’ Around the Observatory. Others who have recorded Hiatt’s songs include Three Dog Night, B.B. King and Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Jewel, and Rosanne Cash.
Late last month, bluegrass fiddle player Michael Cleveland released a cover of Hiatt’s “Tennessee Plates,” with Sam Bush on lead vocal. The track is just one of several cuts Hiatt introduced on his 1988 Americana classic Slow Turnin’, an album that also generated a smash country hit for Suzy Bogguss (“Drive South”), a Grammy for blues legend Buddy Guy (for his version of “Feels Like Rain”), and a memorable 1989 cover by Emmylou Harris with “Icy Blue Heart,” featuring Bonnie Raitt.
Hiatt is currently on tour, with a string of upcoming shows in Colorado that begin in Grand Junction on August 10th.