Mudcrutch (2008)

1. Shady Grove 2. Scare Easy 3. Orphan of the Storm 4. Six Days on the Road 5. Crystal River 6. Oh Maria 7. This is a Good Street 8. The Wrong Thing to Do 9. Queen of the Go-Go Girls 10.June Apple 11.Lover of the Bayou 12.Topanga Cowgirl 13.Bootleg Flyer 14.House of Stone


To be fair, this is not a Tom Petty album. I debated whether or not to include this one, but I decided to do so for several reasons. First, it is Tom Petty, along with what were the main, steady, Heartbreakers (Ben Tench and Mike Campbell). These guys, before they became Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were in this band called Mudcrutch - they just discontinued that band to form the new one. The second reason (and there are many who would disagree) is that it could have easily passed as a Tom Petty album. He incorporated many styles throughout his career, so this one, while a bit different, wouldn't really have been too diverse from his other material. And lastly, it's a damn fine album.

I was a bit surprised on hearing it at first. The original Mudcrutch never had a record deal, and the only songs I was familiar with were the ones that appeared on the Tom Petty box set Playback. I don't hear many similarities. The early Mudcrutch sounds pretty much like any garage band, whereas this record has a much more southern, bluegrass feel to it. Having said that, I don't really hear anything that sounds much like rock and roll on this album. People have compared this to the likes of Lynard Skynard or The Allman Brothers, but I just don't see it....or hear it.

Fortunately, the bluegrass - country sound goes perfect with Petty's twangy Florida accent, so Petty seems right at home with this type of music. In fact, you could argue that his voice is better suited for this type of music as opposed to straight ahead rock and roll, but it was probably always the combination of the music with Petty's voice and feel that gave him such a successful brand.

Hardcore (and I mean hardcore) rock fans probably never liked Tom Petty anyway, so anyone that remotely calls themselves a fan should find plenty to enjoy on this release. Also, based on the songwriting credits, this album does probably represent more of a "band" feel than anything The Heartbreakers ever did (there are even a few tracks where Petty doesn't sing the lead).

Just a witness of the song titles can give you a pretty good idea of the overall feel of the record - and it is a great feel. One hopes we'll see more of Mudcrutch.

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