Highway Companion American
Music •••• Sound •••½
Highway Companion picks up where albums like Into the Great Wide Open and Wildflowers left off, with a dozen tuneful nuggets that, mercifully, have little to do with the sound of 2006. That's not to say it's an exercise in fairy-tale escapism. To the contrary, it's all about anomie - rootless, drifting characters in search of "higher ground," "saving grace," and anything that feels like home. Meanwhile, the three-man band of Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, and Jeff Lynne make the beguiling, often wistful melodies sparkle and shimmer. "Flirting with Time" could have come from a lost Byrds or Del Shannon album. And "Night Driver" manages to be unnerving and hooky at the same time - a combination that gives this album both depth and immediacy.

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