Monday, October 30, 2006

Tom Petty - New single adds to His History

Tom Petty is nothing if not consistent. Are there highs and lows, sure (he rhymed "Tattoo" with " a tattoo too" at one point...), but the guy has been writing great songs for 30 years and his new single will surely join the pantheon of his continuing hits.
Flirting With Time, his new single from the Highway Companion CD, is a wistful, haunting but joyous tune. He is at the high end of his vocal range during the verses, plaintive and haunting. The Chorus is a power house of pop. I think the song might be perfect. Whimsical but sad. He is addressing the encroaching downhill struggle of age but still slamming away like the young rocker he was.
I saw him with the Heartbreakers at the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 26. I have seen the band countless times but it had been at least a decade since the last show I had been to. There are new crowd favorites (It's Good To Be King.) but surely the material from the new CD will take the band into its twilight. Stevie Nicks and Jeff Lynne both stepped in for guest appearances. Jeff Lynne's production of the new CD is amazing(Jeff, thanks for the incredibly understated production on Highway Companion, and thank you for not burying the tunes under a mountain of background vocal overdubs.)
Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell are possibly the best sidemen of all time, tasteful, timeless, and not a wasted note. Steve Ferrone, a strange choice for a Heartbreaker (British funk drummer!?) is an amazing compliment. Solid, steady and falling right in with one of the most American sounding bands of all time, sure their pointy boots nod to the Beatles but these boys were more likely listening to The Byrds.

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