Single I John Hiatt & The Jerry Douglas Band – Mississippi Phone Booth


Single John Hiatt & the Jerry Douglas Band – Mississippi Phone Booth van album Leftover Feelings New West – Pias 21 mei 2021

The blues-infused “Mississippi Phone Booth” describes a call for help at the end of a bender. Hiatt said of the song:

I maintain that I write fiction, but my stories are based on life experiences, or the experiences of people I know, or things I’ve read about and so on. And this one in particular chronicles my last sort of run with trying to make alcohol and drugs work successfully in my life, I’ll just put it that way!

It was the beginning of the character’s redemption I would say. Broken and redeemed is sort of the cycle, the human cycle. We get broken and we get redeemed somehow, by some kind of grace, and the song’s kind of about that. And of course, talking about a phone booth, I thought the young folks would get a kick out of that!

On the production side, Douglas elaborated on how he brings the feel for what the lyrics describe into the rest of the song’s sound:

My wife’s from Mississippi, so I’ve spent a fair part of my time in the last few years being in Mississippi. And it’s slow, and you learn to move like a sloth in Mississippi because it’s so hot!

I have a mental picture of exactly where he was standing in that phone booth, calling and just begging somebody, at least for the operator to stay on the line long enough for him to talk to somebody. It sounded like a miserable situation. But I try to bring…real life to what was there, to do what I could do to swamp it out a little bit.

John Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas Band – Leftover Feelings