Posts Tagged ‘Mike Campbell’

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Fleetwood Mac debuted their new revamped lineup by performing “The Chain” and “Gypsy” on Wednesday’s edition of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

The televised appearance marked the longtime band’s first time playing live alongside guitarists Mike Campbell, formerly of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Crowded House’s Neil Finn, both of whom stepped in after Fleetwood Mac fired Lindsey Buckingham last April.

Both guitarists featured prominently in the performances, flanking to the left and right of Stevie Nicks; on both “The Chain” and “Gypsy,” Finn handled the vocal parts previously sung by Buckingham, particularly on “The Chain,” where Finn and Nicks showcased their budding vocal chemistry.

They played two classic songs, “The Chain” and “Gypsy,” which you can watch below.

Host Ellen DeGeneres introduced the group by saying that it’s sold more than 100 million albums and calling Fleetwood Mac “one of the most iconic bands in music.” Finn quickly answered fans’ questions about how his voice would fit in place of the departed Lindsey Buckingham by taking the lead on “The Chain.”

Campbell then switched guitars in order to play the song’s outro solo. For “Gypsy,” Campbell pulled double-duty, playing guitar as well as the song’s keyboard hook.

After “The Chain,” DeGeneres hugged Stevie Nicks and briefly spoke with the singer. The host acknowledged that it was a thrill to have them on her show because Fleetwood Mac usually don’t perform on TV.

Nicks introduced Finn and Campbell and promoted the band’s upcoming tour. DeGeneres added that her show is giving away a pair of tickets to every date. You fans can enter the contest at her website.

“There are 10 hits we have to do,” Nicks has previously said of the tour. “That leaves another 13 songs if you want to do a three-hour show. Then you crochet them all together and you make a great sequence and you have something that nobody has seen before except all the things they want to see are there. At rehearsal, we’re going to put up a board of 60 songs. Then we start with number one and we go through and we play everything. Slowly you start taking songs off and you start to see your set come together.”

Fleetwood Mac’s tour begins on October. 3rd in Tulsa, Oklahoma., with the first leg wrapping up with two nights at the Forum in Los Angeles on December. 11th and 13th.

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American Treasure, is a 60-track box set featuring previously unreleased live and studio material from Tom Petty, will be released on September. 28th. The songs on the collection are reportedly drawn from all phases of Petty’s career with his longtime band the Heartbreakers.

Full details including a complete track list are expected to be announced soon. The news was revealed today on Petty’s SiriusXM radio station, along with the debut of the first track from the box set, 1982’s previously unreleased “Keep a Little Soul.” American Treasure was reportedly compiled by Petty’s daughter Adria, his wife Dana, Heartbreakers guitarist and keyboardist Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench and “studio collaborator” Ryan Ulate.

After the countdown clock emerged this morning, many fans speculated that the news would be concerning the release of a double album version of Petty’s 1994 record Wildflowers. He had originally intended for the album, his second solo effort, to be a double album, but, at Warner Bros. request, he scaled it back to a single disc.

In 2014, it was reported that a set expected to be called Wildflowers: All the Rest, that restored the complete track list, was in the works to coincide with the album’s 20th anniversary. Only the song “Somewhere Under Heaven” has officially surfaced, appearing during the closing credits of the Entourage movie.

He was planning to support the release with a unique tour. “I want to take the Heartbreakers and whoever else I need to reproduce every sound in a big way,” he had said. “That album was really about sound in a big way. I would like to go out there and perform the entire album as it was originally conceived with all of the songs.”

“That would have been smaller-scale, away from the hits,” guitarist Mike Campbell later added. But he said that the plan, to which Norah Jones had signed on, was scrapped in favor of a career-spanning trek to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Heartbreakers. Unfortunately, Petty died a week after the last date of the tour, a September. 25th show at the Hollywood Bowl.

Tom Petty‘s family and former collaborators compiled the four-CD box set of previously unreleased material by Petty and the Heartbreakers, for release on September 28th, SiriusXM announced. The release, called An American Treasure, marks the first posthumous album of Petty material since his death in October. The SiriusXM broadcast debuted a clip from one of the unreleased songs from 1982 called “Keep a Little Soul.”

An American Treasurewill contain previously unreleased studio recordings, live recordings, deep cuts and alternate versions of popular Petty songs,. The collection will encompass 60 tracks in total. A less expensive two-CD set will also be available for purchase.

Petty was as prolific as he was talented. During the Eighties and Nineties, he released albums at a rapid pace. His studio productivity dipped slightly in the new millennium, when he put out an album roughly every four years. The last album Petty released under his own name was 2014’s Hypnotic Eye. He also contributed to 2016’s Mudcrutch 2 with members of his pre-Heartbreakers band.

TomPetty - An American Treasure D2C pack shot Image

Petty was found unconscious at his home in Malibu on October 2nd, 2017. He was taken to the hospital and put temporarily on life support. He died hours later.

In January, a medical examiner ruled that the singer died of an accidental overdose. Petty had been prescribed drugs to treat emphysema, knee issues and a fractured hip, according to a statement from his family. “On the day he died, he was informed his hip had graduated to a full-on break,” Dana and Adria wrote. “It is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his overuse of medication.”

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Mike Campbell was born in Panama City, Florida. He grew up there and in Jacksonville, Florida, where he graduated from High School in 1968. At 16, he bought his first guitar, a cheap Harmony model, from a pawnshop. His first electric guitar was a $60 Guyatone. Like Tom Petty, Campbell drew his strongest influences from The Byrds and Bob Dylan, with additional inspiration coming from guitarists such as Scotty Moore, Luther Perkins, George Harrison, Carl Wilson, Jerry Garcia, Roger McGuinn, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Jimmy Page, Mick Taylor, and Neil Young. The first song he learned to play was “Baby Let Me Follow You Down,” a song which appeared on Dylan’s eponymous debut album.

Mudcrutch moved to L.A. and signed a record deal with Shelter Records, recording an album in 1974 that ended up being shelved. Campbell then joined Petty to start up the original Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1975 along with Benmont Tench (keyboards), Ron Blair (bass guitar) and Stan Lynch (drums).

He formed a band named Dead or Alive which quickly disbanded. Campbell first met Tom Petty through Mudcrutch drummer Randall Marsh when they were auditioning him and he suggested his friend Mike to play rhythm guitar.

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Like the other players in the Heartbreakers, Campbell avoids the virtuoso approach to playing, preferring to have his work serve the needs of each song. Guitar World magazine noted “there are only a handful of guitarists who can claim to have never wasted a note. Mike Campbell is certainly one of them”. He is a highly melodic player, often using two or three-strings-at-a-time leads instead of the more conventional one-at-a-time approach. “People have told me that my playing sounds like bagpipes,” he muses. “I’m not exactly sure what that means.” His estimation of his own style is typically modest: “I don’t think people can really top Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton as far as lead guitar goes. I like my playing to bring out the songs.” Like Tench, he is heavily involved in constructing the arrangements for the Heartbreakers’ tunes. And also like Tench, he prefers rawness to polish in the studio and onstage.

Directed by Justin Kreutzmann, this 15 chapter web documentary features Mike Campbell taking us on a tour of his guitar collection and explaining the stories and significance behind the instruments as they relate to his own personal journey and the music of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

0:01 “Chapter 1: Introduction – Treasured Gifts That Keep Giving” 7:50 “Chapter 2: A Sound Is Born On The 1964 Fender Stratocaster” 13:32 “Chapter 3: The Irreplaceable Fender Broadcaster Part 1” 18:46 “Chapter 4: The Irreplaceable Fender Broadcaster Part 2” 23:47 “Chapter 5: Thicker and Dirtier – The Gibson Goldtop” 29:18 “Chapter 6: Chimes of Freedom The Rickenbacker Sound – Part 1” 34:40 “Chapter 7: Chimes of Freedom The Rickenbacker Sound – Part 2” 40:14 “Chapter 8: In Between Bright and Heavy That Gretsch Tone” 46:33 “Chapter 9: A Whole Studio On Your Guitar Vox” 51:03 “Chapter 10: Biting Clear and Loud The Gibson Les Paul Jr. and SG” 57:23 “Chapter 11: Begging To Be Played The 1959 Gibson Les Paul” 1:04:37 “Chapter 12: The Surf Sound of The Fender Jaguar/The Mike Campbell Duesenbeg and the Super Bowl” 1:10:32 “Chapter 13: Handle With Care: (Another) Invaluable 1964 Fender Stratocaster” 1:16:39 “Chapter 14: The Homestead and Studio” 1:23:37 “Chapter 15: Assorted Specialties and Conclusion”

Mike Campbell’s drool-inducing lineup of vintage guitars and amps he brings on the road. Campbell’s guitar tech, Steve Winstead, walks us through every guitar, amp, and pedal and lets us in on Campbell’s time-tested formula for great tone.

Guitars
One side of Campbell’s guitar arsenal covers all the bases. From the left side we have “Little Ricky,” which is a Rickenbacker-style mandolin with a whammy bar. Next is a recent Fender Custom Shop Tele with a B-Bender used as a backup, then a pair of Rickenbacker 12-strings—the one on the right is used on “Free Fallin’.” A pair of ‘50s Teles follows those as well as a Gretsch 6186 Clipper tuned to open-G for “I Won’t Back Down.” Finally, there’s a mid-’60s Gibson SG that Campbell’s been favoring for this tour after recently digging it out of storage.

The basic formula for Campbell’s amp rig is to crank up some low-watt amps and let the PA do all the heavy lifting. The bulk of his sound comes from a 1963 Fender Princeton and a 1954 Fender tweed Deluxe. He augments that with a custom Fender Excelsior and a Fender Vibrotane for Leslie-type effects.

Effects
Campbell relies on a rare Dunlop Camel Toe for his distortion, a Line 6 DL-4, the Green Meanie switch (which brings his Fender Excelsior amp in and out), a DigiTech Whammy II, Line 6 MM-4, a custom switch for his 1962 reissue Fender reverb tank, a Boss RC-30, and a Boss TU-2 tuner.

Rest In Peace Tom Petty: 1950 – 2017

American musician Tom Petty died on October 2nd, 2017 in California aged 66, says a statement issued on behalf of his family. Petty was found unconscious, not breathing and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu home early on Monday. He was taken to hospital, but could not be revived and died later that evening. Petty was best known as the lead singer of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers rock band, producing such hits as American Girl, Breakdown, Free Fallin’, Learning to Fly and Refugee. “He died peacefully at 20.40 Pacific time (03.40 GMT Tuesday) surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends,” said his long-time manager Tony Dimitriades. Petty and the band were on the forefront of the heartland rock movement, alongside artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger. The genre eschews the synthesizer-based music and fashion elements. Petty was also a co-founder of the Traveling Wilburys group in the late 1980s, touring with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison. “It’s shocking, crushing news,” said Dylan, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.” Petty also found solo success in 1989 with his album Full Moon Fever, which featured one of his most popular songs Free Fallin’, co-written with Jeff Lynne. In 2002, Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers The Record Plant, Sausalito April 23, 1977. Very good to excellent WXRT FM broadcast. Originally broadcast over KSAN Radio. With Byrd’s riffs and Stones swagger, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers burst onto the scene in ’76 blending British invasion, US garage rock with the urgency & vibrancy of current new wave bands. This is one of their earliest radio shows broadcast by KSAN-FM from the Record Plant, Sausalito on April 23rd 1977. Captures the band ripping through their current set in front of a small audience in remastered sound quality.  Original performance on LP (“Tearjerker” bootleg) .

Surrender 3:10
Jaguar And The Thunderbird 2:49
American Girl 5:20
Fooled Again (I don’t like it) 5:35
Luna 4:42
Listen To Her Heart 3:13
I Need To Know 2:36
Strangered In The Night 4:12
Dogs On The Run 10:25
Route 66 3:50

Tom Petty – guitar, vocals Mike Campbell – guitar Benmont Tench – keyboards Ron Blair – bass Stan Lynch – drums Guest. Al Kooper

Initially following its release, the album received little attention in the United States.  But Following a U/K tour, it climbed up the UK album chart and the single “Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll” became a hit in the UK. After nearly a year and many positive reviews, the album reached the U.S. charts, and eventually went Gold.

It’s a great American rock album with beautifully constructed songs and a passionate vocal from Tom Petty.
It runs in at a little over 1/2 an hour so it is slightly short by today’s standards but the music there in is wonderful.
Before I mention the songs individually , I should say that there isn’t the searing guitar overload of a live performance, in that the solos are short and not as stand-out in the mix.
Live, there was more emphasis on soloing but the songs are rock ‘n’ roll works of art and this is an album that you can’t tire of.
Luna, is a beautiful ballad, is my favourite song of the album and I would say that it is a unique song , part blues, part lullaby , with a beautiful organ melody that you’ll never forget.
huge anthemic track American Girl is a joy and the guitar solo at the end is a piece of magic,
The Wild One Forever and Mystery Man are beautiful , gentle songs with melodies to die for.
Throw in Fooled Again, Breakdown and Strangered in the Night et.al. and you have one of the best albums ever made. Wonderful stuff !.

The singles “Breakdown” and “American Girl” became an FM radio tracks that can still be heard today.

The album was recorded and mixed at the Shelter Studio, Hollywood, California.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Petty’s breakthrough album plays like his most genuine slice of rock ‘n’ roll – probably because his two earlier albums didn’t do much, and that hunger drips through nearly every single groove. ‘Damn the Torpedoes’ heads straight into a world where Byrds-ian folk-rock collides with heartland-sized riffs. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers never hit the brakes.

Not long after You’re Gonna Get It, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ label, Shelter Records, was sold to MCA Records. Petty struggled to free himself from the major label, eventually sending himself into bankruptcy. He settled with MCA and set to work on his third album, digging out some old Mudcrutch numbers and quickly writing new songs. Amazingly, through all the frustration and anguish, Petty & the Heartbreakers delivered their breakthrough and arguably their masterpiece with the album Damn the Torpedoes.

Musically, it follows through on the promise of their first two albums, offering a tough, streamlined fusion of the Stones and Byrds that, thanks to Jimmy Iovine’s clean production, sounded utterly modern yet timeless. It helped that the Heartbreakers had turned into a tighter, muscular outfit, reminiscent of, well, the Stones in their prime — all of the parts combine into a powerful, distinctive sound capable of all sorts of subtle variations. Their musical suppleness helps bring out the soul in Petty’s impressive set of songs. He had written a few classics before like “American Girl,” “Listen to Her Heart” — but here his songwriting truly blossoms. Most of the songs have a deep melancholy undercurrent — the tough “Here Comes My Girl” and “Even the Losers” have tender hearts; the infectious “Don’t Do Me Like That” masks a painful relationship; “Refugee” is a scornful, blistering rocker; “Louisiana Rain” is a tear-jerking ballad. Yet there are purpose and passion behind the performances that makes Damn the Torpedoes an invigorating listen all the same. Few mainstream rock albums of the late ’70s and early ’80s were quite as strong as this, and it still stands as one of the great records of the album rock era.

It’s about an hour before Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers play Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre for what may be the last time. Backstage, Petty is in his dressing room putting on a frontier rebel’s headdress to fight the chill. Keyboardist Benmont Tench is tweeting about the sad state of our country under Donald Trump. Bassist Ron Blair has battled stage fright for years since rejoining the Heartbreakers in 2002, after a 20-year sanity break. He wanders into Tom Petty’s dressing room and cops to something you’re not likely to admit to your bandleader unless you’ve known him for 40 years. “I’m kinda nervous, you know,” says Blair in a quiet voice.

Petty rarely describes himself as the leader of his band, but as “the older brother they sometimes have to listen to.” Tonight, he gives Blair some fatherly assurance and a toothy Southern smile: “Let me be nervous for you.”

The band takes the stage and blows through “Rockin’ Around (With You),” the first song on its self-titled first album, from 1976. Petty ends the next few songs strumming in front of the drum set, trading man-crush smiles with drummer Steve Ferrone (Tench jokes, “They should get a room”). Petty even grins through a joyous version of “Walls,” from 1996’s She’s the Onean album he’s complained about for nearly 20 years.

And then there’s a flash of lightning. Rain pours down. The Heartbreakers are shooed into the catacombs of Red Rocks, and 9,000 fans head for cover.

As the bandmates wait out the rain, Petty asks if they want to add their 1999 song “Swingin'” to the second half of the set. Everyone agrees: They do. The Heartbreakers aren’t a democracy, but more of a benevolent dictatorship. This is true when it comes to the set list. “We can make suggestions,” says Tench with a wry smile. “Sometimes they’re even accepted.”

After 20 minutes, the Heartbreakers retake the stage. They play “Swingin’,” which has a chorus where Petty lists icons who “went down swinging,” including Sonny Liston and Sammy Davis. Tench, who sings with Petty on the song, switches it up. Epstein provided the beautiful high harmonies on the record, so Tench sneaks in a tribute to his departed friend: “He went down swingin’/Just like Howie Epstein.”

Petty is supposed to do some acoustic numbers from Wildflowers, his 1994 solo album. There’s just one problem: His guitar is dead, soaked by the rain. There’s confusion and uncertainty on the band mates’ faces for a moment, like it’s a 1975 show at a honky-tonk in Gainesville. Then Petty and Campbell shout across the stage, “Ben, play something!”

Tench, the best keyboardist in American rock, breaks into a pastiche of boogie-woogie, a homage to pianist Pete Johnson. The group chimes in, not quite in sync, until Petty switches to Chuck Berry’s “Carol.” The Heartbreakers fall in line, sounding like the best bar band you don’t want to tell your friends about.

They encore with “American Girl.” The bandmates take a bow, wiping sweat and rain off their faces. Everyone exits, but Petty seems reluctant to leave. He takes a few steps toward the front of the stage and gives a last wave.

One word Petty and the band never mention: retirement. Petty still goes into his Malibu home office to write songs  right across from his home studio. He’s mostly a homebody, rarely even venturing the 45 minutes into Los Angeles unless it’s to see his two daughters and his young granddaughter. There was a Mudcrutch tour last year and a turn producing a record for former Byrds bassist Chris Hillman. The Heartbreakers will record again and play live in some capacity. After 40 years, it would be surprising if there weren’t a few regrets. “Howie should’ve gotten some lead on a record,” Tench says of Epstein. “He should’ve produced a record for the Heartbreakers. I would’ve loved that.” Then he shrugs. “But I’m not in charge.”

There’s been a valedictory feel to the Heartbreakers‘ 40th-anniversary tour, which Petty says is the band’s final country-spanning run – the “last big one.” Everyone else is a bit skeptical. “I’ve been hearing that for 15 years,” says guitarist and original Heartbreaker Mike Campbell. “We’ll see.”

The crowds are still there, something Petty is clearly proud of when we sit down in a hotel room on an off day. To be honest, he looks more jittery offstage than on. This may be because he is chain-smoking, alternating between Marlboros and vaping, perhaps as a concession to the Denver Ritz-Carlton’s smoking policy.

Petty says sleep is now his friend. “I need a new Netflix show, does anyone have any suggestions?” he asks just before his assistant ducks out of the room. Someone suggests Bloodlinea noirish series set in his native Florida.

Petty is defiant about the hyper pace of the tour, which hits 30 cities this spring and summer. “Unless you’ve done it, you can’t understand what it is,” says Petty, brushing his scarecrow hair out of his face. “And if you’re not really experienced, you will fall.”

What keeps the Heartbreakers together is simple: The band has been their life since 1976.  Benjamin Montmorency Tench III, was a prep-school kid and piano prodigy. Tench wears suits and went to Exeter, but he’s the fiery one. In the Peter Bogdanovich documentary on the Heartbreakers, 2007’s Runnin’ Down a Dream, Tench can be heard screaming at his bandmates to take things seriously. His nickname is Mad Dog. When Tench used to go on one of his tirades, a roadie would slide a dog bowl of water under his piano.

Petty, Campbell and 
Tench formed the nucleus of the band Mudcrutch,
which morphed into the
 Heartbreakers in 1976,
 after adding San Diego native Blair on bass and 
Stan Lynch on drums.
 Blair fried out and
 bailed in 1982. He opened a bikini shop in the Valley and was replaced by Howie Epstein, but the band loomed in his subconscious. “I’d dream I’d be walking to the stage, and be like, ‘I don’t know “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,”‘ recalls Blair. “I had half a dozen of those nightmares, so I started learning those songs so I could get a night’s sleep.”

This proved fortuitous when Epstein died of heroin-related complications in 2003. “I don’t think the band continues without Ron,” Tench tells me. “Bringing in someone new wouldn’t have worked.”

“About 20 years ago, we stopped doing soundchecks,” says Petty. “It eats up the whole day and we’d argue, and then you’d come back and the sound would be completely different with a crowd.”

The other game-changer was Dylan. By 1986, the band had toured relentlessly for a decade. Off the road, everyone was a mess – some members dealing with substance issues, some just dealing with real life. “The road and the studio are the only places I’ve ever felt completely OK,” says Petty, lighting another Marlboro. “In any other life situation I’m terribly retarded.” Petty got a call from Dylan asking if the band would back him on a tour. Petty raced out a “hell, yes.” Watching footage, you can see him smiling his head off, ecstatic to not be leading the show. The experience taught him how to be in the Heartbreakers, not just lead them. “That’s when we learned how to really be a band,” says Petty.

 

One word Petty and the band never mention: retirement. Petty still goes into his Malibu home office to write songs  right across from his home studio. He’s mostly a homebody, rarely even venturing the 45 minutes into Los Angeles unless it’s to see his two daughters and his young granddaughter. There was a Mudcrutch tour last year and a turn producing a record for former Byrds bassist Chris Hillman. The Heartbreakers will record again and play live in some capacity. After 40 years, it would be surprising if there weren’t a few regrets. “Howie should’ve gotten some lead on a record,” Tench says of Epstein. “He should’ve produced a record for the Heartbreakers. I would’ve loved that.” Then he shrugs. “But I’m not in charge.”

Four songs into his set Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena, Tom Petty announced that the band’s next song had not been played live in more than a decade. And with that, Petty and the Heartbreakers kicked into “You Got Lucky,” an ominous masterpiece of a song that elicited a chorus of “hell yeah”s when the minor chords of Benmont Tench’s synthesizer blasted through the speakers.

It was a testament to Petty’s seemingly bottomless repertoire of songs that he could dust off a song like that willy-nilly and still have it be an anthemic arena sing-a-long.

With the exception of the opening number, “Rockin’ Around (With You)”  the first song on the first Heartbreakers record — and a few other cuts, Tuesday night’s show was heavy on the hits, despite the tour being billed as a celebration of that album’s 40th anniversary.

It was also one of the more raucous and engaged crowds this writer has ever seen at Bridgestone. When Petty played Bonnaroo back in 2013, his set was borderline lethargic, and perhaps that was intentional, given the stoner vibe of the festival. But Tuesday night’s show stood in defiant counterpoint to that. And the crowd, which spanned several generations, responded in kind. 

Around the front of the stage, in the not-so-cheap seats, one could find a who’s who of Nashville-based musicians, including Robyn Hitchcock and Wilco’s Pat Sansone. Petty even remarked at one point that if you’re not a guitar player in Nashville, you’re a songwriter. But for the most part, the 66-year-old kept the stage banter to a relative minimum. Indeed, it seemed at times that the sold-out crowd knew every word to every song. And it was remarkable to consider just how well these songs have aged through the years. So many of these classic Petty cuts seem to exist in the ether, and the very idea of a world without his music is hard to fathom.

Tom Petty’s voice is raspier than it was in his heyday, but it still gets the job done. And the Heartbreakers, led by guitarist Mike Campbell, who these days resembles a dread-locked Captain Jack Sparrow, never break stride. It’s easy to see why Rick Rubin has long called them the best rock and roll band in the world.

When Petty and the Heartbreakers released their debut back in ’76, some critics dismissed them as a “nostalgic” act. How wrong they were. The final track of that debut album, and the final song of the night, “American Girl,” still crackles with thunder, sounding as fresh and vital as the day it was released.

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Most Tom Petty fans thought they would never see one Mudcrutch album, let alone two. Tom Petty has reconvened his early band MudcrutchPetty, Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell, Tom Leadon and Randall Marsh – for a second set of rootsy country-rockers.  The album includes seven originals written by Tom Petty, with his bandmates each composing one track.

To catch everyone up on Heartbreakers’ trivia, the backstory goes that in 1974, a scraggly Florida outfit with the unwieldy name of Mudcrutch —bassist/singer/songwriter Petty along with keyboardist Benmont Tench, Tom Leadon and Mike Campbell on guitars and drummer Randall Marsh — headed to L.A. to find fame and fortune. They recorded a few tunes and soon disbanded. But since Petty was signed to the Shelter label, he kept Tench and Campbell added new members and the Heartbreakers was born.

In 2008, Petty unexpectedly revived the name, brought back Leadon and Marsh from obscurity and released what became Mudcrutch’s belated debut. That disc’s loose-limbed yet winning mix of covers and originals was a little looser and more rootsy than Petty’s typical fare and even though he was clearly the frontman, Tench and Leaden took a few lead vocals.

Eight years and two Heartbreakers albums later, Petty gives the venture another go-round, now booking a tour to support it. This one ups the energy a few notches, especially on the pounding garage pulsing “Hope” which, with its cheesy Farfisa organ sounds like a pretty good Standells B-side. Tench takes another vocal turn on the dryly humorous boogie-woogie “Welcome to Hell” and guitarist Campbell gets a rare chance to sing on his lone writing contribution, the chugging “Victim of Circumstance,” finding ground somewhere between Petty and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Even drummer Marsh takes a frontman status on his perfectly acceptable “Beautiful World,” proving himself both a respectable singer and capable of churning out at least one solid pop-rocker.

Not surprisingly Petty contributes the bulk of the material — this disc is all originals — with seven new tunes (out of 11), all of them up to the high standards he has set for himself throughout his stellar 40-and-counting year career. Even Tom Petty experts would have trouble telling the first three tracks aren’t new Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers tunes since they ride that well established sweet spot between chiming Byrds-influenced rocking and impossible to resist choruses. That’s particularly true of “Dreams of Flying,” a mid-tempo nugget every bit as good as his best work.

The closing six minute “Hungry No More” is this album’s epic answer to the debut’s sprawling 9 minute “Crystal River,” giving Campbell and Leadon room to weave their guitars around a strummy, emotionally laced Petty ballad that incorporates a bit of a psychedelic vibe, not something you’d likely hear in a set from his full time ensemble.

As usual, Petty makes it seem easy. And with help from his fellow Mudcrutchers, the unassumingly titled 2 is proof that even Tom Petty’s modest side projects are better and more compelling than many acts at their best.

Mudcrutch.

The charity event Merry Minstrel Musical Circus usually an event in December at the Troubadour. We’ll again be hosting in conjunction with our good friend Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). 100% of proceeds will go to benefit music programs in the LA Unified Public Schools and Tazzy Animal Rescue Fund. Special guests will be announced over the coming weeks. On behalf of Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), everyone else involved, everyone who came out & supported these 2 great causes for this year’s Merry Minstrel Musical Circus. And a special thanks to the Troubadour & all our special guests – John Fogerty,Jackson Browne, Conor Oberst, Laura Marling,Benmont Tench, Scott Thurston, Steve Ferrone, Jim Keltner, Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins, The Haden Triplets, etc. It was another very special night. Last December Jonathan Wilson hosted the first annual “Merry Minstrel Musical Circus” at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, which featured an all-star cast of special guests that included Mike Campbell, Jackson Browne, Bob Weir and Jeff Lynne. Wilson will reprise the “Merry Minstrel Musical Circus,” which has the subtitle “A Holiday Gathering And Jamathon,” on December 20th at the Troubadour.