Tom Petty's "Damn The Torpedoes" was one of the first half-dozen vinyl LPs I ever bought, and it's finest songs: "Don't Do Me Like That", "Refugee", "Even The Losers" still sound great to me. His later records were all good, some were great, and a "best of" CD would have to run at least two discs.
I loved "Echo" from a few years back, and a lot of "The Last DJ". TLDJ inspired me to write a song with the Warren Brothers called "Used To Be Music", which picked up the lament of the state of today's music/radio scene. Ex-Heartbreaker Stan Lynch was across the street from the demo studio we cut it in, so he was recruited to play drums on it. We all just sat there and listened and grinned.
That was the same reaction at a listening party in the back lounge of our crew bus a couple of weeks ago. We opened a few beers, turned down the lights and listened. Even though we are busy all day lifting and tuning and tweaking and sweating, it is always a treat to hear what it is that got most of us into this business - good music. And good music - great music - can be found on Petty's new solo record "Highway Companion".
A colaboration between Petty, right-hand man Mike Campbell and the fabulous Jeff Lynne, "Highway Companion" is a collection of songs about life in motion - sailing, flying, driving cars, falling in and out of love, reassessing your life - all written from the perspective of a veteran rocker who know what to put in and what to leave out. As a keen observer, he typically includes lyrics that describe where he is when he is watching the world go by. His taut lines of perfectly small details put you in the moment with him and paint a vivid picture of the singer's vision, a sure sign of songwriting mastery. He speaks of going "Down South" and hopes to "Impress all the women/Pretend I'm Samuel Clemens/wear seersucker and white linens".
Petty handles the drums, guitars, vocals and keyboards, with Campbell and Lynne adding bass and guitars and keys. Check it out.