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Mudcrutch – 2008 (Reprise)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Mudcrutch

The name Mudcrutch means little to most music fans, but the names of the band members certainly will - a lead singer by the name of Tom Petty, Mike Campbell on guitar and Benmont Tench on keyboards. The latter are in Petty's Heartbreakers. They are joined by drummer Randall Marsh and guitarist Tom Leadon. The genesis of the group dates back more than three decades when they were a band in their native Gainesville, Fla., released 1 single and broke up in 1975 before some went onto bigger and better things.

Fast forward to the summer of 2007. The music, a mix of country, bluegrass and Petty's rootsy sound, was recorded live, "vocals, harmony, everything" as the CD jacket says. This was not an effort long in the planning with "Arrangements done on studio floor, made in 10 days, no headphones." That did not mean the end result is a slapdash effort.

The disc starts off with an on-target reading of the bluegrass staple "Shady Grove" and later mixes it up with trucking music on "Six Days on the Road." Petty's voice is its usual strong self, although Tench and Leadon do justice on lead vocals on several songs. There is a relaxed feel most songs (the stretched out "Crystal River" and "Oh Maria"), while some sound like typical Petty/Heartbreakers fare ("The Wrong Thing to Do" and "Scare Easy"). Like the jacket says, the music was made with "a lot of love."