Running Down a Dream: A Tribute to Tom Petty by Lucinda Williams
The 70th Tom Petty Birthday Bash.
Tom Petty may be, in my view, America’s best ever singer/songwriter/performer. There are tons of covers of his songs. Dozens came out just this year, in fact. And a bunch were tagged and released on what would have been his 70th birthday–covers by established artists like Jason Isbell, Dave Stewart, and Foo Fighters and up-and-comers like Miss Tess and the Michigan Rattlers. Americana was represented (Patterson Hood), along with indie rock (Raconteurs), alternative (Beck), blues (Norah Jones), and everything in-between. Just an awesome event. And one of the songs was by Lucinda Williams–a single cut as part of the event–who also had her own party paying tribute to the legend.
It’s rare that anyone does Petty better than Petty. It wasn’t until I heard Lucinda perform her slowed-down, haunting version of “A Face in the Crowd” that I finally understood how that song is supposed to sound. This concert made me sad that Tom is gone, and even more sad that, during his lifetime, these two never toured together.
Together, these covers were truly the best 2020 could offer.
A Face in the Crowd by Bell Plaines (Tom Petty). This was one of Tom Petty’s more mainstream ballads, and Bell Plaines makes it breathy and sexy. A nicely done transformation.
And also: Runnin’ Down a Dream by Isobel Campbell, and Wildflowers by Grouplove.