Q&A: Lilly Hiatt discusses recording process and upcoming show at the Luck Reunion

Chris Duncan

Lilly Hiatt is a Nashville singer-songwriter whose most recent work Trinity Lane, released in 2017, is a pure expression of love and loss. Performing at the Luck Reunion at Willie Nelson’s ranch on March 15th, Hiatt spoke with The Daily Texan about the success of Trinity Lane, her recording process and her inspirations.

Daily Texan: Your 2017 album Trinity Lane caught on with people, what does that mean to you?

Lilly Hiatt: It definitely made me really busy, and that’s successful to me. It means a lot, it’s always really awesome to hear the people enjoy my music.

DT: In an email I got about you, and in it someone used “taking responsibility for (her) emotions.” What does that mean?

LH: I guess it’s just about… realizing… the way you feel isn’t always the reality that’s shown. You can always change it.

DT: So you’re saying that your music is a representation of what you’re feeling in a certain moment?

LH: Sometimes, it depends you know. I guess in a way, a lot of the time actually.

DT: What’s your recording process like for an album of this sort?

LH: The recording process is different, I do like to track live and take my band to the studio with an idea of the songs before we get to the studio.

DT: So you’re not the kind of person who plans meticulously before you go in?

LH: No, we get the songs down pretty well before we go into the studio, and I’ll have a pretty good idea of where they’re going. I know what I want everything to sound like, so sometimes it’s just a matter of going in and seeing what happens.

DT: You don’t sound like a perfectionist in the studio

LH: I want to make a great album, but I don’t labor over every little part. I want the overall vibe to be feeling really good. I’m not ridiculous picky about takes, I just want the one that feels right and has the right mojo. We do most things in two or three takes. Maybe four if it’s tricky. I don’t know, I don’t spend too much time trying to perfect stuff.

DT: What kind of inspiration was Willie Nelson to your career?

LH: He’s just amazing. He’s in his 80s and plays shows still. I don’t know him, but he seems like a peaceful and sweet man. And it’s not easy to stay grounded when you’re on the road all the time. He seems successful at that. I saw an interview once where he said he eats bacon and eggs every morning, and I thought ‘you know, I want to do that too.’

And of course, his music is fantastic. Phases and Stages is my favorite Willie Nelson album.

DT: What does it mean to you to be performing at the Luck Reunion? Excited to meet Willie Nelson I assume?

LH: I’ve never been the type to line up and wait, but if it happens naturally I’d be so excited to meet him. And I can’t wait to play and hear all the bands, I know it’s gonna be a lot of fun. It’s an honor they included me.