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REQUIRED LISTENING: a musician's personal notes about favorite artists.

Southern Accents.
This album was a LABORIOUS project for Tom Petty (at one point he put his fist though a wall in frustration). Tom felt the NEED to take his music in new directions. And it shows. Each song has a different flavor than the one before. The addition of horns to "Make It Better" and "Best Of Everything," strings to "Southern Accents" AND the Heartbreaker classic vibe on songs like "Rebels" and "Dogs On The Run" demonstrate a versatility that makes this my favorite Tom Petty CD. (Sidebar: Dave Stewart, from the Eurythmics, helped Tom with a couple of the songs, including the sitar-driven "Don't Come Around Here No More.")

The Heartbreakers have always been one of the finest bands in Rock and Roll, with each member contributing a LOT to the sound. Every member deserves credit but in this short space it's worth mentioning Mike Campbell in particular, with his guitar work and songwriting, as a great foil (and help) to Tom. When you look at Tom Petty's vast body of work, it is clear that he is one of the finest songwriters ever. His words hit me like a ton of bricks with their REALness. Although I've liked everything he's ever done, Southern Accents is my favorite.

posted: May 2004.


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