In the wake of the untimely and much mourned passing of Tom Petty there have no doubt been countless concerts in honour of the great man. Sydney songwriter, musician and producer Michael Carpenter has organised some fine tribute shows and now he’s taken it a step further with a full album of Petty covers, in collaboration with duo Smith & Jones.
There are very few curveballs in the versions presented here, the trio taking a reverent and celebratory approach, where Petty’s spirit and songwriting abilities are lovingly paid respect. ‘Runnin’ Down A Dream’ is given a sweet country swing, ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More’ is slowed and stripped back, highlighting the trio’s fine interplay of harmonies. Smith & Jones bring a soulful ache, a warm blend of 70s pop, folk and even a touch of gospel to everything they touch. Their voices combine wonderfully and provide a contrast to Carpenter’s more rock and power pop flavoured pitch and tone, unashamedly schooled in a lifetime of Petty.
‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’ is a highlight, played close to the original, ‘You Got Lucky’ showcases Carpenter’s guitar playing and fittingly, in the spirit of the album, they leave the listener with an uplifting communal sing-along with ‘End Of Line’. It all amounts to a loving postcard to the other side and a heartwarming farewell to a musical hero.