Oxford native Mike Elliott has fond childhood memories of the Richard Thornton Library – it’s a place he frequented after school and he said it’s where he got to discover all kinds of wonderful music. Oh, yeah, books, too. But also albums. Stacks and stacks of record albums, he said.
Elliott returns to Thornton Library this Saturday, Oct. 8 to talk about his new book called “Have A Little Faith: The John Hiatt Story,” a biography of legendary singer-songwriter John Hiatt.
Elliott, a former staff member here at WIZS, told Bill Harris Tuesday that the library was a place “near and dear to my heart…where I got to discover all kinds of wonderful music.”
And from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, he’ll be reading from his own book, entertaining questions about it and signing books that will be available for sale. Now out in paperback, the hard cover was released in September 2021.
Hiatt may not be a household name to some, but his songs surely are recognizable. Artists from Bonnie Raitt to B.B. King have sung the lyrics he’s penned since he came onto the music scene in the early 1970’s. “He has written so many songs that people will know,” Elliott said. “So many people have done John Hiatt music.”
Interestingly enough, it was a “horrible” song that first caught Elliott’s attention. Although he didn’t like the lyrics he was listening to on one of those college stations in the mid-‘80’s, he was drawn to the voice singing it. Elliott said he remembered thinking “This song’s terrible, but I love that singer” with the bluesy voice.
Fast forward to another Hiatt song called “Slow Turning,” and it hit Elliott that both songs were performed by the same guy. On a subsequent visit to Henderson’s Nits, Nats, Etc. was where Elliott said he found “Bring The Family,” which he called “an amazing album…that made me a fan for life” of Hiatt’s music.
“He’s a brilliant lyricist,” Elliott continued, with an ability to take the mundane and create sweet perspectives on everyday life. Hiatt’s lyrics are quirky, but not maudlin, he said.
Hiatt turned 70 in August, Elliott said, and he had a chance to sit and chat in person after a recent performance at Carolina Theater in Durham. The initial interviews for the book had to be done over the phone because of COVID, but Elliott said he caught a show in Ft. Lauderdale and then “was thrilled to finally be able to meet in person.”
What’s next for Elliott?
In addition to the regular contributions to numerous online and print publications, Elliott said he’s narrowing down topics for his next book.
“I’ve got some irons in the fire,” he said, adding that the next book will more than likely be a biography, again with a music theme.
Learn more at https://michael-elliott.com/