Like a favorite chair or Sunday dinner, John Hiatt’s musical output has become a familiar and comforting entity. You pretty much know exactly what you are getting, but that does not diminish the pleasure of the experience one bit. The Open Road consists of 11 brand new tunes, each imprinted with the trademarks of Hiatt’s oeuvre — sultry blues licks, witty and thoughtful lyrics, and an underlying energy that drives the music through the pervasive groove. Recorded with his touring band members — bassist and former Georgia resident Patrick O’Hearn (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons), Ken Blevins on drums, and Doug Lancio on guitar — the album flows well as their time together on the road has bred a sense of familiarity among the players. Thematically, Hiatt explores movement and travel, and on such tracks as “Haulin’” and “Movin’ On,” it seems that life on the road has had an impact. Hiatt makes it all sound so good. 4 out of 5 stars.