After an eight year hiatus - which saw Tom Petty release the 2006 solo album Highway Companion, partake in Peter Bogdanovich's Grammy-winning career documentary Runnin' Down A Dream, reunite his first band Mudcrutch for an eponymous album in 2008, and assemble the mammoth multi-disc The Live Anthology - he and the Heartbreakers regrouped and issued Mojo in 2010. With Mojo, Petty and Co. took such recent freedom and experimentation to heart. The first thing that hits you about Mojo is that the spirit of the Mudcrutch sessions carried on with the Heartbreakers. This is the sound of a band playing together in a room, not a studio, facing each other, all singing and playing at the same time. The music is alive, with no overdubs or studio trickery. What you hear is what they created on the spot at that time.
As for the songs, Mojo showcases a wide variety of American music from rock ‘n' roll to country and both electric and acoustic blues. And then there are the images in Petty's lyrics which slip in on the melodies and set up a home in your head: The barefoot girl in the high grass chewing on a stick of sugar cane, the run-in with the law that begins when a carload of buddies decide to party with the motel maids, and the hilariously audacious idea of opening an album with an electric blues rocker about Thomas Jefferson's love affair with Sally Hemings. Mojo has juice and guts but it also has some sweet balladry for the slow dancers and even a wacky reggae number that is unlike anything that the Heartbreakers had done before. It's the kind of album nobody's supposed to be able to make anymore. And it got here just in time.
"Mojo (Reprise) spotlights the interplay of the Heartbreakers, and gives guitarist Mike Campbell room to stretch. A master at weaving different colors through Petty's songs, Campbell brings a new boldness to his playing, as is instantly apparent with the opening fanfare on "First Flash of Freedom." The songs aren't exactly jam-fests, but they feel looser, stretching out to accommodate his solos."
--Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune, June 14, 2010