A Smooth Ride With Tom Petty
By Ricardo Baca
The Denver Post - July 25, 2006
Tom Petty, "Highway Companion" | ROCK | American, released today
The magic of Tom Petty's naturally sun-kissed music is the way it comes off so seemingly effortlessly. While some critics don't like his nasaly stories, his voice is chocolate cake to the ears. And his bluesy, straightforward rock - complete with some of the most solid guitar work in the game - is his trademark.
Petty is a rock. And "Highway Companion" is an inside peek at his travel journals that show he's still creating work that actually deserves a spot in the live show next to "American Girl."
"Ankle Deep" is an ice-cold glass of lemonade, a laid-back love song set on horse fields that plays off Petty's quirky poetry and his love of intermediate guitar solos that are more concerned with matching the mood than shredding the scenery.
And "Square One" is a quiet, acoustic painting that has Petty working with light brushstrokes and intense details. Some of his work has him forcing out a melody to various results - even in "Mary Jane's Last Dance," which still sounds manufactured for radio. But with much of this album, including the subtle "Square One," Petty is a working craftsman focusing on the art and not the commercial appeal.