Perhaps because he was momentarily freed of the "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" moniker while reuniting with his original band Mudcrutch, Tom Petty and his old Florida buddies have made an album as good and as easy as anything Petty has put his stamp on in recent memory. The vibe has more in common with his Traveling Wiburys outings, perhaps because like those records the album was recorded quickly in a few short weeks. Yet for a band that hasn't played together in over 30 years, the fluid chemistry is impressive, and moreover, the album is fun. Countrified covers are abound ("Six Days On The Road", "Shady Grove"), and the band stretches out on the originals a la Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds. At one point, during the first listen of the excellent "Crystal River", I noticed that the song had taken a turn. A minute or two later I looked at my watch and wondered if maybe the song had changed and I hadn't noticed. I looked at the player and, no, it was still on the same song (gasp) I was taken aback: Tom Petty was jamming! A real, bonafide dirty-hippie jam in Tom Petty song! Holy Crap! Nine plus minutes later I was so impressed I had to start the song over. It's Petty as you've never heard him before! Let's hope this Mudcrutch thing isn't just a one-off, because its been ages since he's sounded this alive.

1 comment:

Jim said...

I really enjoyed the first Mudcrutch album. It just has such a fresh sound- something that I haven't heard from Petty for a while. Don't get me wrong, I love most Tom Petty songs, but it seems he kind of lost his energy during the last couple of albums. I really enjoyed "Highway Companion", especially because of his work with Jeff Lynne, but it did seem to lack the sparkle of this Mudcrutch album.

I'm glad the album did well, but I do have to say that I don't agree with the repackaging of the album. I always feel like I'm not getting the whole picture when I buy an album, especially after Petty came out with that expanded edition of "Highway Companion" a few months after the initial release.


The Laptop Sessions Cover Songs