Dawn Hiatt uniquely marries classic Nashville influences directly to chamber pop, with spikes of alt-country, folk-rock and Tin Pan Alley in between. Her classic country tunes are marked by memorable hooks and harmonies, Patsy Cline with a shot of Chet Atkins thrown in, yet the production, rather than being reverential, often suggests Jon Brion’s work with Aimee Mann or Fiona Apple. Her alt-country tunes recall Whiskeytown, while its ebb and tide of grit and kitsch suggest a close kinship with Neko Case and Andrew Bird.
Her most recent album, Goodnight Boots features an impressive array of musical talents, including vocalists Adrien Reju, Liz Fullerton (Honey Watts), Brad Hinton and Todd Barneson (The Lowlands); drummers Freddie Berman (Amos Lee), Pete Wilhoit (Fiction Plane), Tom Walling (Burndown All-Stars), Gary Lebiedzinski (Bailey Hounds) and Tom Bendel (Buried Beds); and guitarists Carl Cheeseman (Birdie Busch), Ross Bellenoit (Sweetback Sisters), Andrew Keenan (Amos Lee) and Adam Davis (Sturgill Simpson). The record was produced by her husband, Jeff Hiatt (Chris Kasper, Ensemble Novo, Honey Watts) of Turtle Studios, whom the artist met while recording her debut The Waking Hours.
Born to a family of musicians and race car drivers, Dawn Hiatt grew up singing in church in Western New York, and her family soon relocated to the farmlands of Bridgeton, N.J., in Cumberland County. Her experiences far from home — caring for orphans in Guatemala, teaching inner city students in New York, touring all over America as a young songwriter — have been instrumental in her development as an artist. Hiatt was named winner of the Philadelphia Songwriters Project Songwriting Contest in both 2008 and 2009 — the only artist who has won it twice — and tracks from her debut The Waking Hours and Goodnight Boots have received regular airplay on WXPN and WSTW, among others.
Hiatt has performed more than once at both of Nashville’s famed showcase venues, the Five Spot and the Bluebird Café, as well as both Rockwood Music Hall and Jalopy in New York City. She’s played regularly in Portland (Ore.) and Bloomington (Ind.) and has toured the Midwest and Southeast extensively. Hiatt has been a featured vocalist on recordings by Chris Kasper, Resistor, the Rick Rappaport Project and Johnny Miles. In addition to Goodnight Boots, Hiatt will release an duet album of hymns with Todd Barneson in December.
Hiatt has been featured at the Philadelphia Folk Festival and on the prestigious Bluebird Stage on the Country Throwdown Tour (Virginia.). Her many festival appearances include the Hudson Valley Songfest and Montauk (both N.Y.); Midpoint and Paper City (both Ohio); Black Potatoe (N.J.); and the Kimmel Center Summer Solstice and Bethlehem MusikFest (both Pa.). She has opened for top acts Joan Baez (Kimmel Center), Cory Chisel (Eagleview) and 10,000 Maniacs (Sellersville), while consistently selling out the region’s top listening rooms as a headliner.