Not to Be Petty, But…
Every good venue will on occasion book a cover band, but this is Nashville and this is 3rd and Lindsley on a rainy Friday night, and this is not your ordinary cover band – not by a long shot. The Long Players have been covering classic albums in their entirety and in sequence since 2004. All distinguished musicians in their own right, the band recruits from the incredible talent pool of Nashville (and beyond) for guest performers.
The most important thing to know if you’ve never seen The Long Players perform is that they are absolutely flawless and they have a complete love for the music they play. The band is lead by Bill Lloyd who, while best known has one half of the Country duo Foster and Lloyd, has played with a who’s who of music greats as well as producing a string of excellent solo albums. Lloyd is joined by guitarist Steve Allen (20/20), Keyboardist John Deaderick (Daddy), Drummer Steve Ebe (Human Radio), and bassist Brad Jones (a sought after producer with credits that include Chuck Prophet, Marshall Crenshaw, and Yo La Tengo).
Tonight’s albums was Tom Petty’s first solo album, Full Moon Fever (1989). The list of guest singers/players was formidable, and the club was packed. Nashville singer/songwriter/musician Greg Barnhill (“Walk Away Joe”) kicked things off with the iconic “Free Fallin’”.
“I Won’t Back Down” was sung by an incredible talented Nashville songwriter and performer named Jabe Beyer. Warren Pash (who wrote the Hall and Oates hit “Private Eyes”) took the stage to sing the Petty/Campbell penned, “Love is a Long Road”. Bill Lloyd stepped forward to sing “A Face in the Crowd”, and Tom Littlefield (The Questionnaires) closed out side one of the album with “Runnin’ Down a Dream”.
After the hidden track, “Hello CD listeners…”, was played, Walter Egan (“Magnet and Steel) opened side two with the album’s only cover song (which I guess made it a cover of a cover), The Byrds’ “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better” written by Gene Clark. Mike Vargo (The Shazam) sang “Yer So Bad”, and the amazing Chuck Mead (BR549) performed “Depending on You”. Dan Baird (Georgia Satellites, Homemade Sin, The Bluefields) said that there was only one dumb rock song on the album, and that he had been asked to sing it, and then he launched into a “The Apartment Song”. Legendary rock and roll icon Bebe Buell who currently lives in Nashville and formed a band called The Nashville Aces performed the lovely “Alright for Now”. Tommy Womack (Government Cheese, Daddy) delivered a standout performance of “A Mind with a Heart of It’s Own”. Dez Dickerson (Price and The Revolution) rocked the album closer, “Zombie Zoo”.
Without a break, The Long Players segued into a set of classic Tom Petty songs with each of the guest singers returning.Highlights included Bebe Buell doing “Wild One Forever” which she sang on her first album, Chuck Mead’s take on “Refugee”, “Here Comes My Girl” performed by Tommy Womack, and the show stopping “American Girl” which featured the whole cast lead by Mike Vargo.