Yes of course you miss Tom Petty. We all do. Mike Campbell is keeping alive the spirit of his deceased bandleader with a collection of well-crafted classic rock songs.
Campbell has always had a voice that was similar to Petty’s, and his songwriting is close as well. That’s inevitable and unsurprising, I suppose, after playing lead guitar with the legend for decades.
So how does Campbell’s new album, External Combustion, stand on its own? Pretty well. Campbell has always been an extraordinary guitar player, and his skills are on full display. The great Benmont Tench is on the piano. Margo Price and Ian Hunter show up to help with vocals. It’s hard to go wrong with that lineup.
No, it won’t make you forget Tom Petty–or miss him any less. But this is a solid album rooted in the same Southern rock traditions.