“Into the Great Wide Open” (Tom Petty Cover)

Originally posted 2010-01-15 22:00:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jeremy Hammond:

My cover of “Into the Great Wide Open” by Tom Petty. I play the main verse pretty much the way Petty does, as far as I can hear.  I’ve re-arranged the chorus section a bit to try to closer mimic the multiple instrumental layers you hear on the album.

** EDITOR’S NOTE **

The title track to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1991 album of the same name, “Into the Great Wide Open” may not have topped the charts, but is an excellent song that deserves appreciation.  Even though it fell a full sixty-four slots shy of its predecessor “Learning to Fly,” Petty did manage to produce an outstanding music video for this song.  And it even starred a young Johnny Depp as Eddie Rebel with supporting roles by Chynna Phillips (of Wilson Phillips), and Matt LeBlanc (of Friends fame).

They truly don’t make music videos like this anymore, so if you haven’t seen it, you should really take the time to do so.  Go ahead, that’s what YouTube is for, right?

What makes “Into the Great Wide Open” such an excellent candidate for an acoustic cover?  Well, there’s the catchy, powerful acoustic strumming before the chorus, never mind the fact that this is certainly a song that comes across well when played with a minimal arrangement.

As per usual, Jeremy has demonstrated great taste and considerable ability in his performance of this Tom Petty classic.  I had forgotten how much I love this song and this album, and I’ve already watched Jeremy’s video several times over the past few days, enjoying this stripped down rendition.  On behalf of the Laptop Sessions, I thank Jeremy for yet another wonderful video.  Here’s to many more in 2010!

Mudcrutch’s “Mudcrutch” (2008) – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2010-03-07 23:45:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

RATING: 3 / 5 stars

I’ll never forget the day I first read the biography of Mudcrutch.

It was a surreal set of circumstances — Mudcrutch was a band that had gone unnoticed by most and been forgotten by those few who had taken an interest during their five year run from 1970 to 1975. They had formed as a small town band, moved out to Los Angeles in pursuit of a record contract, and broken apart under the pressures of their record label and the departure of band members.

A year later, three of the Mudcrutch refugees would go on to form a band that you may have heard of…

It was a tantalizing tale, and I could barely contain my excitement for this music. In some small way, I felt like I would be able — for once! — to take part in the debut release of a band I felt truly passionate about. This was not simply the unveiling of a band’s first album; this was an opportunity to be transported back in time nearly four decades to an entirely different rock and roll landscape than I’ve grown accustomed to in the new millennium.

You get the idea.

And, at least initially, Mudcrutch held up to the hype.

Mudcrutch's self-titled debut (2008)

Mudcrutch's self-titled debut (2008)

The first song that caught my attention was “Scare Easy,” a mid-tempo number that may have Petty’s trademark vocals on it, but is clearly not your typical Heartbreakers track. If anything, it sounds more like his previous solo album, but even then, it has a unique sound.

Other tracks on the album are standouts, even amongst the considerable catalog items that Petty, Campbell, and Tench have amassed over the years. Songs like “The Wrong Thing To Do” and “Bootleg Flyer” are unique, upbeat, and very promising. “Orphan of the Storm” may be one of the best examples of what this band sounds like, blending older country and blues textures with a seventies rock and roll mentality lurking in the backbeat.

These excellent tracks notwithstanding, there are a number of tracks that suffer from that middle-of-the-road, “so what?” stupor that few can induce like Tom Petty. In fact, most of the second half of the album is forgettable, populated by a pedestrian tune from Benmont Tench, a forgettable Tom Leadon track that confirms why he fell short of the success his brother (the former Eagle) and Petty achieved, “June Apple,” and “Topanga Cowgirl.”

In fact, two of the best tracks on the album are covers: “Six Days on the Road” and “Lover of the Bayou.” The former is a pretty straightforward number, but an exemplar for country rock. The latter, co-written by Roger McGuinn (of the Byrds) and Jacques Levy (popularly known for his collaborations with Bob Dylan on 1978’s “Street Legal”), is a candidate for the best Mudcrutch performance on tape to date. Even the traditional “Shady Grove” is beautifully translated as the perfect opener.

On first listen, Mudcrutch was a joy. Track by track, I loved it. It was only after repeated listens that it began to lose its luster and fade into mediocrity. This is a case where I think my excitement for the story surrounding the band colored my perception of the music they produced.

Each time I return to it, I try to feel what I did that first week after its release in 2008, but to no avail. Even though I’ve hesitated to admit it, Mudcrutch is a three star album from what could have been — and, at least, three fifths went on to be — a five star band.

Take note of that: in music, as in life, some combinations just weren’t meant to be, no matter how much you love the individuals. You may look back and ponder what could have been.

It’s perhaps better left to the imagination.

“Good Enough” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Chords, Tabs, & How to Play

Originally posted 2010-02-26 12:30:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

“Good Enough”
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

INTRO:   Em     Am     C     B     Em     C#m    Bbm   Gm  – F#m  –  Em

Em
She was hell on her mama, impossible to please;
Am
She wore out her daddy, got the best of me.
C                                                  B
And there’s something about her that only I can see,
B               Em                 C  –  B
And that’s good enough.

You’re barefoot in the grass, and you’re chewin’ sugarcane.
You got a little buzz on; you’re kissin’ in the rain.
And if a day like this don’t ever come again,
That’s good enough.

C                                B                                                    A  –  G –  F#
Good enough for me; good enough for right now, yeah.
Good enough for me; good enough for right now, yeah.

SOLO:   Em     Am     C     B     Em     C#m    Bbm   Gm  – F#m  –  Em

God bless this land, God bless this whiskey.
I can’t trust love: it’s far too risky.
If she marries into money, she’s still gonna miss me,
And that’s good enough.  Gonna have to be good enough…

SOLO:   Em     Am     C     B     Em     C#m    Bbm   Gm  – F#m  –  Em  (x2)

OUTRO:                                    Em     C#m    Bbm   Gm  – F#m  –  Em  (x6)

** These chords and lyrics are interpretations and transcriptions, respectively, and are the sole property of the copyright holder(s). They are posted on this website free of charge for no profit for the purpose of study and commentary, as allowed for under the “fair use” provision of U.S. copyright law, and should only be used for such personal and/or academic work. **

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ “Mojo” (2010) – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2010-07-25 22:45:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

RATING:  4 / 5 stars (with “Candy” & “Takin’ My Time”);  4.5 / 5 stars (without)

There is simply no mistaking a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song.

When you hear a single like “Refugee” or “Free Fallin'” on the radio, or in shuffle mode, or in a fast food restaurant, or wherever you may be, the band is recognizable.  Even if something more obscure comes on, say a recent track like “You and Me,” there is no need to call up your Shazam app; there is no mistaking Petty’s distinct nasal twang or Mike Campbell’s hook-laced, jangly guitars.  At worst, they sound like a Byrds cover band fronted by a Bob Dylan impersonator.

At best — and, most often — they are one of the greatest American rock bands of all time.

What does all this have to do with Mojo?

Simply put, Mojo represents a purposeful breakdown (pun intended) of the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers formula.  This record finds the band more concerned with experimentation via these blues influenced performances, and as such, the individual members of the band, more than on any other release, serve integral roles in the instrumental soundscapes.  Even on “U.S. 41,” perhaps the most stripped down of tracks, each band member has an interesting, shifting role as the song unfolds.  Campbell’s Kay Jimmy Reed Model guitar joins forces with Scott Thurston’s harmonica to rip schizophrenically through the rhythm section.  Benmont Tench switches temporarily to his Tremolo Steinway, relegating himself largely to the background and yet playing a key role in advancing the serious undertones of the words.

Here, as on all the tracks, Petty’s lead vocal is an instrument unto itself, alternating between creaking and crooning where appropriate.

Later, Campbell’s lead guitar on the standout “Running Man’s Bible” acts more as a backup vocal, answering each of Petty’s lines with a lick here, a riff there.  This is one of their best duets, and their energy on the choruses calls to mind the fact that this pair has been on the proverbial road for what is rapidly approaching four decades.

When I read in one article that Mojo was being recorded with a jam band mentality, I faltered in my enthusiasm.  When another article name-dropped the Allman brothers, I outright grimaced.  The Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers I love have always, regardless of what phase they were in, stood for purposeful rock music.  What I mean by this is that they have consistently eschewed the instrumental self-indulgence that regularly pushes tracks by bands like the Allman brothers into the double digit minute range.  The songs on their debut self-titled release rarely cracked the three minute mark; on the first half, only one track did: “The Wild One, Forever,” clocking in at a whopping 3:01.

In short, I feared that looming self-indulgence, a bug that has bitten many a great band.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "Mojo" (2010)

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "Mojo" (2010)

Instead of a collection of lengthy, live band jams, Mojo instead turned out to be a cohesive trek through a myriad of American milieu.  In many ways, this new record has more to do with their first two records than their most recent ones.  This is not at all to say that they’ve regressed to the simpler arrangements of You’re Gonna Get It! that earned them initial success; this is less a return than a romp through stomping grounds as a more mature, honed group of artists.

Certainly, even the most upbeat tracks on Mojo lack that in-your-face, eager-to-impress youthful energy that characterized their early songs, numbers like “When the Time Comes,” “Listen to Her Heart,” and “American Girl.”

Yet, at the same time, those early tracks lacked the electric mayhem of “Good Enough,” the sinister sneers and downbeats of songs like “I Should Have Known It,” and the beautiful nuances of tracks such as “The Trip to Pirate’s Cove.”

The two songs that leave me aweless are “Candy” and “Takin’ My Time,” the former a snoozer of a blues standard and the latter a lyrically boring, tiring exercise in marching across the speakers.  Each exceeds four minutes in length, and my patience in less than half that.  (Now, the iTunes bonus track “Little Girl Blues,” that’s a song I can get behind, perhaps even as an addition to the album proper.)

Nix these two tracks and this becomes a tightly sequenced thirteen track album.

Despite stretching out instrumentally, many tracks hint at riffs in all the right places, as if to remind the listener that this format is a conscious decision, as opposed to a lack of ability to write songs like they once did.  The lyrics certainly don’t suffer in this venture, “The Trip to Pirate’s Cove” being one of the best ballads the band has ever released and “Good Enough” being one of the best vignettes in their catalog, saying so little yet so much.

Thematically, Mojo is a loose but thoughtfully assembled exploration of American society, particularly the ethics and mores that have shaped our nation over the past hundred years.  The concept is not nearly as clearly defined as on The Last DJ, but it is present all the same: in the “mouths to feed” and preferred isolation of “Don’t Pull Me Over,” the “boss man” and the “wages” and the “food on the table” in “U.S. 41”, and, of course, the sin, glory, and freedom in “First Flash of Freedom.”

“Jefferson Jericho Blues” places us at the precipice, in the mind of a man who knows what is right yet “just can’t let go” of what feels better.  This conflict recurs in “High in the Morning,” with a bottle that belongs to the devil and a woman who belongs to the captain.  If these songs can’t be applied as metaphors for individuals in our society, as well as our nation as a whole, then what can?

In these and so many other ways, Mojo is a success.  It may not be comprised of the tightly packaged pop gems we’ve come to expect of the band, but it is still very much a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, and, after eight long years, a strong addition to their considerable catalog.