is a classic "road" album in the sense that its songs largely seem written to or about people who are not present, either because the singer is away from them, he is singing about the past, or they are dead. John Hiatt
exploits the resulting feelings of longing, anger, and mourning inherent in that premise, sometimes, as in "I Can't Wait," singing about wanting to be back home, sometimes, as in the odd love song "Ethylene," wishing for a departed lover, sometimes, as in "Dust Down a Country Road," reflecting as in a dream on the past. He employs rustic nature imagery, but frequently for ominous effects rather than gentle ones, and he is supported by spare, guitar-dominated backup that is alternately soothing and disturbing. Hiatt
's label debut for Capitol (though they didn't do much to promote it), Walk On
is not among Hiatt
's more consistent or more accessible works, but he remains a highly imaginative and craftsmanlike writer who can startle you. The raucous "Shredding the Document" is among the half-dozen best songs of the year, if not the decade.