Tom Petty – Mojo – CD Review


Tom Petty is tripping. Again. Over the last 30 years, he has transformed his first band, Mudcrutch, into the Heartbreakers, battled record label MCA over record prices, explored his Southern roots on the Southern Accents album, tried his hand at psycadelica with “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” became Bob Dylan’s backing band for a few years, joined rock’s greatest supergroup, the Traveling Wilburys, and sold over 60 million albums. Whew! Many roads traveled, much success.
It’s not like Tom Petty hasn’t found his mojo once or twice over the last 30 years, as his accolades obviously show. But, with his new release with trusty side kicks the Heartbreakers, Petty’s mojo is seriously rising! The new album is a knockout–a trip down many different avenues, each one accented in true Petty fashion. It’s like it took Tom Petty over 30 years to finally relax. But, it’s well worth the wait.

Mojo is the relaxed new trip Tom is on. The album has an extremely old school feel to it, one that gives everyone in the band a chance to open up like never before, especially lead guitarist Mike Campbell, who’s guitar serves as the second voice on Mojo. Petty pushes the more-than-versatile Campbell out front on most tracks, giving the guitarist room to show off his diverse guitar styling. Right out of the box with the first tune “Jefferson Jericho Blues,” you can sense that something different is happening on this Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers record. The first track is a blues workout with pumping harmonica and guitar lines that takes off over Petty’s consistent, always spot-on, lyrics. Close your eyes on the second track, “First Flash Of Freedom,” and you’re right in the middle of an Allman Brothers jam. The third tune in, “Running Man’s Bible,”  Petty and the boys come out cooking, mixing up a sweet vibe that serves as the theme of this record, because Mojo is a gumbo of Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, sprinkled with a little Neil Young and Pink Floyd to boot. It’s Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers jamming in their garage on their favorite tunes and we are just lucky enough to be invited. It isn’t until the fourth track, “The Trip To Pirates Cove,” that the band cools off and slows it down a bit for a lyrical adventure reminiscent of “Into the Great Wide Open” from the album of the same name. After that, the cd continues to explore a variety of music styles each steeped and dripping in the blues, which serves as the backbone that frames this album.

I always wondered what Mike Campbell would sound like if he were able to step out and really let loose. One of rock’s most underrated guitarists is at the top of his game on Mojo, placing all his delicious rock lick cards on the table. It’s nice to hear him get pushed forward in the mix and he really is the MVP of this record. Once again, the sure footed Petty has placed his faith in the Heartbreakers for this most recent journey, and once again, they have delivered one of their best works to date.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Mojo is at an all time high, continuing their reign as America’s best rock band!

One Response to Tom Petty – Mojo – CD Review
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    August 5, 2010 | 10:10 am

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