4 Standout Tracks from ‘Petty Country’: Covers from Luke Combs, Lainey Wilson, and More

Petty Country: A Country Music Celebration of Tom Petty hit record stores and streaming platforms today. The album features 20 country covers of classic Petty songs including “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” and “American Girl.”

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Petty grew up in the South, surrounded by country music. As a result, classic country greats wound their way into his long list of influences. Later, Petty’s deep catalog influenced countless country artists. So, in a way, Petty Country is a full-circle tribute. It’s packed with great songs by some of the best artists that country music has to offer but as with any album, a few cuts stand out from the rest. Here are four standout covers from the tribute album.

“Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Midland—Country Band Nails Petty’s Sound

The album’s producers told the artists to shape these songs in their own image. As a result, many of the songs carry the spirit of Petty but the country sound of the artists recording them. That’s not the case with Midland’s cover of “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” At least, for the first half of the song.

This track opens with Midland doing their best to sound like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1993 recording of the song. As far as covers go, they nailed the sound. Mark Wystrach even manages to capture Petty’s vocal delivery. Then, after the guitar solo at the song’s midpoint, the sound begins to shift away from Petty’s sound to something more akin to the country music Midland usually makes. Together, the sounds make for a great cover of a classic song.  

“I Need to Know” by Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives—A Meeting of Legends

When Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released “I Need to Know” as the lead single from their sophomore album You’re Gonna Get It, it was a hard-driving ‘70s rock song. In the hands of Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, though, it becomes a Petty-penned country banger.

Stuart and his band dialed back the tempo without losing any of the intensity of the original. As is the norm with this group, everyone shines from the instrumentation to Stuart’s vocal delivery this is a top-notch country-rock fusion.

“Refugee” by Wynonna and Lainey Wilson— Country Stars do Tom Petty Proud

Tom Petty and Mike Campbell co-wrote “Refugee” and released it as the second single from Damn the Torpedoes. While it wasn’t a big hit upon its release in 1980, it has since become a classic rock staple. So, that leads to the question “What do you get when you cross a Tom Petty classic with two of the most powerful vocalists in country music?” The answer is Wynonna and Lainey Wilson’s cover of “Refugee.”

Judd and Wilson made “Refugee” their own which makes it a great example of what this album was supposed to be. At the same time, both singers pull out all of the stops and let the full power of their pipes shine throughout the song. That shine hits its peak during the final moments of the song as the two singers swap vocal runs.

“Runnin’ Down a Dream” by Luke Combs—Another Stellar Cover from Combs  

Over the years, Luke Combs has shown that he’s just as good at knocking covers out of the park as he is at writing his own songs. His cover of John Anderson’s “Seminole Wind,” Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” and Brooks & Dunn’s “Brand New Man” proved that several times over. His cover of “Runnin’ Down a Dream” on Petty Country further proves that prowess.

Featured Image: YouTube/Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

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