The Laker Review — September 29, 2006

Tom Petty strikes gold with new album, Highway Companion
By Connor Olsen
The Laker Review — September 29, 2006

Tom Petty. The name is legendary, but he just won’t back down with his latest release, Highway Companion.

Since his debut album with the Heartbreakers in 1976, Petty has remained a favorite of true rock ‘n’ roll listeners, and for good reasons.

Songs such as American Girl, Refugee, Free Fallin, and Mary Jane’s Last Dance are just a few of those good reasons.

His collaborations with Stevie Nicks (formerly of Fleetwood Mac), his great musical covers, his ability to change his playing style so well, his insanely wise supporting act choices during his tours (this years includes an all-star lineup with Phil and Trey, The Allman Bros. Band, Ben Harper, The Black Crowes, and Pearl Jam), and his work with Bob Dylan are a few more reasons why Petty is a rock ‘n’ roll legend.

As with his previous work, 1989’s Full Moon Fever, Petty played and produced almost all tracks of his solo album. Vocals, rhythm guitar, drums, backing vocals, harmonica, bass, keyboards and lead guitar were all handled by Petty, and his skills as a musician really shine through.

With sounds ranging from simply Petty on the tracks Saving Grace and Ankle Deep, to a Ben Harper-ish sound on Jack, to an even eerily done Allman Bros. impersonation on The Golden Rose, Petty really hits it home with Highway Companion.

As freshman Wade Garner laughingly said, “Petty’s latest album is simply awesome. It’s just classic Petty doing his thing. If I were a traveler on a long, dusty road, I definitely wouldn’t mind if he was my highway companion.”

Petty can still put on quite a live show. His live performances have captivated audiences for 30 years, and he’s still got it. He tours every major city with a great opening act, and he still plays all the best festivals.

Earlier this summer, on the opening night of the 2006 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Petty was kicking off his new tour by jamming with 80,000 eager fans for three hours.
Many felt that part of what makes Petty such a musical force is how he makes his appearances.

As alumnus Corbet Hall said after the Bonnaroo performance, “It was just a good classic rock show, and one of the few of its kind. Not many rock veterans can still put on a great show like Tom Petty can, and not many can tour and do music festivals like Petty does. He’s just that good.”

He is just that good. Check out the 45 minutes of pure rock ‘n’ roll bliss on his new album Highway Companion.

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