~*~*~Learning To Fly~*~*~
A couple of years ago I confessed right here, in THIS very post about how I completely failed to comprehend the magic of Tom Petty. It was freak coincidence, combined with my tendency to fixate on a small number of musicians at a time. Alas, I was able to recover on time, and do some serious catching up on Mr. Petty.
As an amateur guitar player, I obviously started to introduce Tom Petty songs to my “repertoire” and was pretty surprised at how fairly easy it was to learn them (well, you know, the chords).
But that actually hit me hard. The realization that this might very well be Tom’s greatness. To take a 3 chord progression and turn it into a song that is anything but boring.
~*~*~You don’t know how it feels~*~*~
You know that Tom Petty smile, the one in the featured photo of this post for example? Ever wondered what it meant? Sometimes it almost felt like some kind of “Hey mama, look at me, I’m on stage”. A shy type of smile. Once, before I got to know his work, It looked a little patronizing, even smug. But now I think it was simply amusement. Knowing the secret and feeling pretty good about it. “Yeah, groovy.”
Music has often been to me just that. Since I was a kid, music was a soothing breeze to wounds and a lifting wind in my sails. I found hope there when little was around in “the real world”. I also admit that part of my wandering around the world was (still is?) a search for a place where my heart’s going to say “Stop. Right here is good.” I may have found it. I feel like I did. Might be one of the songs I relate to the most.
~*~*~ Running down a dream~*~*~
It is such a fine story and an even better groove, which seemed to be Tom’s signature. Not one to over complicate things, but always swinging. Many played rock n roll and Country and what have you, but no one with that Tom Petty groove. This simply can’t be replicated. If the Traveling Wilburys was about Bob Dylan it would’ve been quite another thing all together. Good thing then, it was more Petty than anything.
But back to the story telling. Here’s a story, just enough to whet your appetite. One you can complete anyway you want, take wherever you want. As someone who writes, there’s a lot to be said about not telling it all, but rather leaving gaps to be filled by the reader / listener.
Almost like the way Tom played quite often. Strums that left gaps for the band to fill, then harmonize. This goes back to his unique ability to keep it simple but interesting, not too complicated, yet full-bodied.
~*~*~I won’t back down~*~*~
Always insisting on doing his music, his way, on his terms and if things didn’t work out as well as he’d hoped for? Well, it’s back to work and on to the next one. Artistic integrity and persistence, even to the point of fighting it out in court. I have to admire his path and he is a very good role model for me in mine.
~*~*~Mary Jane’s last dance~*~*~
And then, out of the blue… it was his last dance with Mary Jane.
So one more time to kill the pain.
May God bless you Tom Petty. So long.