Tom Petty - Highway Companion
Highway Companion is more than just Tom Petty's first solo project in years, it also marks an important reunion between him and former Electric Light Orchestra front man (and fellow Traveling Wilbury) Jeff Lynne. Lynne returns to produce the album, as he did Petty's classic Full Moon Fever, and brings to the table as much musicianship and experience as Petty himself.
The album opens with its first single 'Saving Grace,' an upbeat blues shuffle that is its runaway best track. Unfortunately, Companion fails to produce anything as fun or exciting, becoming by comparison somewhat more subdued for the rest of the tracks. While songs like 'Ankle Deep' are most reminiscent of Full Moon, 'Big Weekend' seems to be more influenced by Petty's time with The Traveling Wilburys. This trend is constant on Highway Companion - Petty just can't seem to shake the sound that made him an American icon in the '70s.
On Highway Companion, Petty and Lynne undertake a very challenging task in trying to produce an album that lives up to the precedent they set together on Full Moon Fever. Given that album's near masterpiece status, it is too high an expectation that Companion should better it, and although Petty fails to take any ground-breaking steps he manages to produce an album lacking nothing that you would expect from the rock great.
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