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Tom Petty digs up his old roots

Thirty-three years after they split up, Petty has reunited his first band, Mudcrutch.

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Mudcrutch (Warner Bros.): You're forgiven if you've never heard of this grungy-named group from Gainesville, Fla., who released several unsuccessful singles before disbanding in 1975. But you won't mistake the distinctive voice of Tom Petty. Thirty-three years later, Petty has reunited Mudcrutch, an early incarnation of the Heartbreakers that included Mike Campbell and Benmont Tench. The band's belated first album – due for an April 29 release – is a return to its roots, a freewheeling mix of country, bluegrass, and rockabilly. Folk standard "Shady Grove," showcases the wicked fingerpicking skills of guitarists Tom Leadon and Campbell. Boogie gem "This Is a Good Street" offers a rare, gritty vocal performance by keyboardist Tench. Drummer Randall Marsh provides a steady anchor for Petty who has traded his Rickenbacker for bass yet retains his signature sound. "Scare Easy," for instance, recalls "I Won't Back Down" and "Bootleg Flyer" echoes "American Girl." A solid debut from a bunch of old pros. – Robin Honig


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