Always a master of the surprising, face-slapping turn of phrase, Hiatt hasn't lost any of his bite in his seventh decade. His gruff-voiced snarl of a delivery meshes wonderfully with barstool wisdom like "Staring at my motorcycle/ My heart is so heavy/ Like a stack of Bibles." And who else but he could sing a line like "Sometimes love can seem so wrong/ Like a fat man in a thong" without the song right-turning into parody? But, above all, it is Hiatt's ability to limn a character, a mood, a theme, and an emotional landscape in the space of a few short lines: "I'm riding downtown dialled to John Lee Hooker / I've got my mind set on a slow meat cooker / My baby's gonna kick me out someday."
Terms of My Surrender is a mellow, late-night acoustic album, full of salt, gravel, whiskey and ache, but always there is this good humour, this personable rascal singing his blues for whoever's there to hear. A truly welcome return to form from a real master. (New West)