It’s a sign of how much Tom Petty meant to the americana community that so many of “our” artists have been covering his tunes the past week. RS Country reports this morning: “Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit paid their respects to Tom Petty on Sunday night, kicking off a six-day residency at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium with a 19-song set that included the Damn the Torpedoes hit “Refugee.”
The performance was the latest in a string of Petty covers from Isbell and company. Two days earlier, the group closed out a festival gig in Memphis with Petty’s “American Girl,” with the frontman himself performing a solo version of “Even the Losers” earlier in the night. Last week, 400 Unit guitarist Sadler Vaden appeared at a sold-out “Tom Petty Celebration” show in Nashville, with nearly a dozen bands hopping onstage to perform hits from the Heartbreakers catalog. Back in 2013, Isbell and Shires even remade “You Got Lucky” into a stomping, Celtic-inspired folksong during the Austin incarnation of Petty Fest.
The respect between the singers appears to have been mutual. Petty, whose side-project, Mudcrutch, shared a bill with the 400 Unit at the 2016 Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois, was an Isbell fan as far back as 2013, when he Tweeted a picture of a turntable spinning a copy of Isbell’s Southeastern.”
Watch the clip below if you can stop yourself being irritated 2 seconds in by the thought: “why on earth did they have their phone in portrait?”