Produced by Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Ryan Ulyate
Label – Reprise
For those that weren’t aware, Mudcrutch were the early 70s band Tom Petty quit before forming the Heartbreakers. He took with him the invaluable lynchpins, Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell and although the collective never ventured much further than their Gainesville FLA home, the experience laid the foundation for their worldwide success later in the decade. Over 30 years on, and the romantic notion of re-igniting the band for a reunion was too much to resist, and the resultant reformation has led to two long players. Like its self titled predecessor from 2008, “Mudcrutch II” essentially sounds like an extension of the Heartbreakers back catalogue. With guitarist Tom Leadon (brother of The Eagles Bernie), and drummer Randall Marsh, there’s a traditional mix of rootsy rock and Americana, with Petty continuing his best Dylan vocal impressions. There is a greater degree of democracy, with the band taking individual spotlights on their own compositions, but it is, as expected, Petty’s songs that stand out. The opener “Trailer” bears the greatest resemblance to past glories, with the warmth and simplicity of the classic rock style that made him famous. “I Forgive It All” is a gentle ballad that clearly displays his inner Zimmerman, and the glorious closer captures the essence of why he still has the gift to create the necessary amount of intrigue in a genre most others have worn to tired extinction.
“Mudcrutch II” succeeds within the modest limits it sets itself. The restrained, familiar, mature musicianship is perhaps too easily overlooked in these days of modern ephemerality, where neither record label or audience have the patience to commit to a rock band for the long haul. Petty and his cohorts still prove that they can be relevant in this overly digitized world. Good on them!
1 – Trailer (8)
2 – Dreams Of Flying (7)
3 – Beautiful Blue (7)
4 – Beautiful World (7)
5 – I Forgive It All (8)
6 – The Other Side Of The Mountain (7)
7 – Hope (6)
8 – Welcome To Hell (6)
9 – Save Your Water (6)
10 – Victim Of Circumstance (6)
11 – Hungry No More (9)