Mudcrutch "Mudcrutch 2"

When Tom Petty vaulted from Gainsville Florida to Los Angeles he was accompanied by his band Mudcrutch. After five unsuccessful years of hawking its hill-billy garage-rock, Petty broke from the band and went solo, bringing along Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell as the foundation for a new backing band, The Heartbreakers. The rest, as they say is history: platinum albums, #1 hits, sold-out tours, numerous awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Beyond the band, Petty helped found the super-group The Traveling Wilburys, and released several successful solo albums.  

At this point in his career Petty has the luxury of choosing projects regardless of their potential financial benefits. In 2008 he reunited Mudcrutch for its debut album, and the result was a surprise critical and commercial success. Eight years later here comes the sophomore release. Petty is joined by drummer Randall Marsh, guitarist Tom Leadon (brother of Eagles member Bernie Leadon), keyboardist Benmont Tench, and guitarist Mike Campbell. Petty handles bass duties. Album #2 is more polished and less rootsy than its predecessor with each member contributing songs and vocals.

Each writer brings a differing slant to the song cycle. Leadon’s “The Other Side of the Mountain” is the most country-leaning song with banjo playing a prevalent role in the arrangement and he and Petty trading off on vocals. Tench’s “Welcome to Hell” is a rockabilly keyboard delight. Campbell’s “Victim of Circumstance”  is a country-tinged rocker. Drummer Randal Marsh’s “Beautiful World” is a love song that balances between ballad and pop. Without question the best songs on the album come from Petty whether it’s the rocker “Hope,” the country saunter of “Save Your Water” or the ballad “Beautiful Blue” his songs stand out among the others. He captures the tortured hearts and broken dreams of American lives with beauty and dignity. As a singer, as a songwriter, or as musician, he’s a rare and exquisite talent.

Rosemary Welsch (The Afternoon Mix)