Tom Petty, according to his website, will release his third solo album, Highway Companion on July 25 through Warner Brothers/ American recordings. "Saving Grace" is slated to be the first single. A full tracklisting has not yet been unveiled.
The site is also announcing the third leg of Petty's Highway Companion tour will be announced later this week. The tour is already underway. He has been mixing in a few songs from the upcoming release as well as plenty of his classics and a few surprises.
One of those surprises is "Handle With Care," a song he co-wrote and performed as part of the Traveling Wilburys. According to the book Conversations With Tom Petty, a book that compiles a series of interviews with the singer, Petty rarely played Wilburys songs for many years.
Petty performed the song at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when fellow Wilbury George Harrison was posthumously inducted. He also played it at the request of the ex-Beatle's widow at "The Concert for George," an all-star tribute to the music legend. Another Wilbury, Bob Dylan, has announced his album will hit stores in August. Let us all hope this leads to the re-releasing of the long out-of-print Traveling Wilburys' albums.
It is interesting that Petty's new album will be released on American Recordings. American Recordings is the label helmed by producer Rick Rubin. Rubin is a central figure in a brewing controversy involving accusations the Red Hot Chili Peppers have plagiarized a Petty song.
Rubin has produced two of Petty's albums (Wildflowers and Echo) as well as his hit single, "Mary Jane's Last Dance" (included on Greatest Hits). Rubin has also produced several RHCP albums including their most recent, Stadium Arcadium, which features the new single "Dani California." Petty, the Chili Peppers, and Rubin have all stayed out of the controversy which was started by a Delaware DJ although there are Internet rumors (and we all know how reliable those can be) Petty is considering a lawsuit.
It is also interesting this new album is a solo album as this year marks the 30th Anniversary of his debut album with his band, The Heartbreakers. Highway Companion is produced by ex-ELO/Traveling Wilbury Jeff Lynne. Lynne produced Petty's first solo album, Full Moon Fever as well as the last Heartbreakers' album to feature original drummer Stan Lynch, Into the Great Wide Open.
Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.