When musician Walter Hyatt died in a Florida Everglades plane crash in 1996 at age 46, he left behind a group of recordings that has taken over a decade to surface. Some Unfinished Business, Vol. 1 is out today on King Tears Music, a label overseen by Hyatt’s wife, Heidi Hyatt. Two of the songs date from Walter’s days in the acclaimed trio Uncle Walt’s Band (a group that included David Ball and Champ Hood). Three songs, “I’ll Come Knocking,” “Babes in the Woods” and “Lonely in Love,” were recorded by Lyle Lovett.
The experience was bittersweet for musician Jerry Douglas, who recorded new dobro parts for the album. Jerry tells The Tennessean, “You’re sitting there, with the headphones on, and you’re hearing Walter’s voice like he’s right beside you. But he’s as far away as he could get.”
Although it took about five years before she was able to listen to the recordings, much less begin formulating a plan for releasing them, Heidi Hyatt says the process, though painful, was also helpful.
“After you lose someone, you try to find every photograph, and every other little thing,” says Heidi Hyatt. “And people kept bringing recordings to me, things he’d worked on at various studios, in various stages of incompletion. There were songs on there that I’d never heard before: They must have been extremely fresh.”