Mudcrutch (Deluxe Edition)
Tom Petty’s earned the right to indulge himself however he sees fit. The sturdy rock veteran knows his Americana songbook backwards and forwards and if he decides to reunite his early-70s group Mudcrutch as if the Heartbreakers and four decades of success never happened, so be it. This 2008 self-titled debut album from the band that once existed mostly as a memory is a testament to Petty’s southern rock roots. He puts down his Rickenbacker guitar and dutifully returns to the bass he played in the band’s original incarnation, turning guitar duties over to Heartbreaker Mike Campbell and Tom Leadon, brother of the Eagles / Flying Burrito Brothers’ player Bernie. Essentially, it’s the sound of the Heartbreakers channeling not the Byrds of “Eight Miles High” but of the Gram Parsons-era Sweetheart of the Rodeo: country harmonies, swooning organ and a western lope highlighting “Orphan of the Storm,” more tight harmonies capitalizing on the inspired glow of “Scare Easy,” a long jam extending “Crystal River” and outright tribute being paid with covers of the Byrds’ “Lover of the Bayou” and Dave Dudley’s “Six Days on the Road,” a tune popularized to rock audiences by the Burrito Brothers back in the late 1960s.