It’s been almost four years since Tom Petty passed away. Not a day goes by that the void he left in the world doesn’t seem to get bigger. Fortunately, his music remains among the world of the living, and we get to enjoy it whenever we want. I’ve been a little surprised that there haven’t been a bajillion tribute albums released already, but maybe other musicians just respect him too much, or fear the responsibility to take on his songs. Whatever the case, on August 6th Red Spot Rhythm Section will be putting out Won’t Back Down: A Roots Tribute To Tom Petty. The first single came out a couple days ago, and you can hear it below.
Angela Peel delivers the vocals on this cover of “You Got Lucky,” with some great drumming by John Barbush. The highlight for me is the guitar work of Zoey Witz, which would surely make Mike Campbell proud (and Tom as well). Petty’s writing is pretty much genre-proof, so the reggae vibe absolutely works here, and even enhances the sound of the synths a bit, since you don’t really think of synths in traditional reggae music (or at least I don’t).
The track makes me excited to see what the rest of the players do with their takes on Petty. They’ve got JC Brooks, Todd Kessler, Norman Livingston Kerr, Jaik Willis, and Claire Liparluo, plus members of Akasha. Red Spot Rhythm Section is the project of Joshua Siegal, and this is his second full-length album after 2015’s Worry: Songs Of Homan Freed.
Quick fun fact: According to Wikipedia (so you know its definitely true), despite the songs popularity Petty didn’t really like it and they didn’t play it live often until much later. The song came out in 1982 and it was played 227 times (according to Setlist.fm, which isn’t official). Compare that to “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” which came out in 1993 and was played 546 times. Interesting!