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Highway Companion (Deluxe Version)

Tom Petty

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iTunes Review

Tom Petty’s records always sound like they were made by the Valedictorian of Rock n’ Roll 101, as if he listened to the old records and figured out how to create his own classic rock based on elemental rock n’ roll truths. He’s never tried to do too much; much like Neil Young, he’s found the direct path is the most convincing. For this third solo album, Petty keeps it simple, reigning in the usual plush textures of producer Jeff Lynne for something closer to the stripped down folksy approach of his 1994 Wildflowers release. Father Time clearly weighs on his mind. Though the album’s title gives clue that Petty hears these songs as ones for the road, the mileage is wracking up. (“If you don’t run, you rust,” he sings, echoing Neil Young in “Big Weekend”). It all adds up to one of Petty’s most poignant albums. “Saving Grace” begins things with an excited shuffle, but the undertow is there (“And it’s hard to say/ who you are these days / but you run on anyway”) and is most effective on the quietest numbers (“Square One,” “Damaged by Love”).

Customer Reviews

Good album

Well I just got done downloading "Highway Companion". I've listened to every song and the verdict is good. As their pre-release as singles would indicate, Saving Grace and Big Weekend are the big numbers on this album. "Flirting with Time" and "Ankle Deep" have VERY similar melodies but the shared tune is a good one. There really isn't a bad song on this album. Tom Petty has done it again. "Highway Companion" is a valuable addition to my music collection.

Same old Petty...

...and it's not necessarily a bad thing. In most of these songs (and especially the guitar licks in 'Turn This Car Around') there's a familiarity to Petty's older styles. If you listen carefully to most of the songs, you'll hear slower versions of riffs and beats very similar to most of his older albums. Funny how this whole album makes me feel like I should be driving an old Eldorado convertible down some deserted stretch of Nevada desert highway! Bottom line is that although Petty seems to have slowed the tempo down a bit, he's certainly stuck firmly to his roots. And if that's his winning formula, keep me in the mix. I'll be a Petty fan for life.

If You Don't Run You Rust

There isn’t a musician that better represent Americana than Tom Petty with the exception of Bruce Springsteen (I am willing to listen to and argument for John Mellencamp). And with this being the thirtieth anniversary of his debut album, he’s still adding to his legacy with his latest outing Highway Companion. The album is actually a solo act, his third, but much like his previous solo records, this was see many of the Heartbreakers making an appearance including guitarist Mike Campbell who produced the album. Jeff Lynne, of Petty’s “other” group, The Traveling Wilburys, also helped out behind the boards. There are some high expectations with this album as Petty’s previous solo albums were among the best of his career and whether he’s by himself or with the Heartbreakers, he has yet to release that wasn’t at the very least listenable. Highway Companion doesn’t break that streak but it still doesn’t reach the heights of Full Moon Fever or Wildflowers. Instead Petty shows his age by making songs that are most comparable to Neil Young during his mellow, folksy periods (think Harvest Moon). The album starts off with the southern blues of Saving Grace. It’s interesting all the flack behind the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Dani California sounding like Mary Jane’s Last Dance when this song’s guitar lick sounds very close to Chris Isaacs Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing, which in turn owed a little to La Grange by ZZ Top. But anyways. The song is still classic Petty with it’s sitting on the porch and enjoy life appeal. And that’s really all you will hear of the electric guitar being featured on the album until the soothing closer, The Golden Rose. The atmospheric ending puts a great cap to the album. In between the two bookends are sparse songs that like up to the title of Highway Companion as they would be a great soundtrack for a trip across America. Jack skips around and sound like a long lost song from the mod sixties. Turn This Car Around has the Petty’s trademark cockiness that can be heard on some of he greatest hits. On the other end of the spectrum, the album also includes the sweetest song in Petty’s storied career, Square One. But the album, much like when Neil Young makes these types of album, runs into some tedium near the album and lack diversity in the songs. But there is something to say that these artists are still able to make albums worth listening to thirty years later, or longer in Young’s case.


Born: October 20, 1950 in Gainesville, FL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Upon the release of their first album in the late '70s, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were shoehorned into the punk/new wave movement by some observers who picked up on the tough, vibrant energy of the group's blend of Byrds riffs and Stonesy swagger. In a way, the categorization made sense. Compared to the heavy metal and art rock that dominated mid-'70s guitar rock, the Heartbreakers' bracing return to roots was nearly as unexpected as the crashing chords of the Clash. As time progressed, it...
Full Bio

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