John Hiatt & the Combo w/ Holly Williams
8 p.m., $35 - $45, rococotheatre.com
John Hiatt is an underappreciated icon of a distinctively American brand of roots-based rock songwriting. The Indiana-born Hiatt has recorded since the late 70s, toiling on the fringes of the major label record industry before moving to A&M Records in the late 80s. His first two A&M releases, 1987's Bring the Family and 1988's Slow Turning, provided a small burst of commercial success, with the latter record's title track gaining radio play and "Have a Litle Faith in Me" becoming one of Hiatt's most recognizable songs. Hiatt combines a smart ear for pop melodies with a heartland rock sound that leans on roots and blues. Hiatt's voice is also an instantly recognizable trait, sounding like a less-hardened Tom Waits when he goes gruff. It's Hiatt's extensive songbook that will last and last, with several of his songs being regularly covered over the years. This is a rare opportunity to see an American songwriting master in a beautiful venue.