By Brian T. Atkinson
Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 25, 2013
Petty Fest was a loose and fun all-star affair Wednesday night at Mohawk. "I got my band name from him in a trivia question," said Heartless Bastards lead singer Erika Wennerstrom early on. "The Heartless Bastards was the wrong answer."
A who’s who gathered to perform at the sold-out event – Norah Jones, Jakob Dylan, Jason Isbell and locals Ian McLagan and Charlie Sexton among them – to raise money for Sweet Relief, a national HAAM-like organization that "heals musicians in need."
"It seemed like something fun to do for a good cause," said Jessica Lea Mayfield, who performed Petty’s "Breakdown." "It’s been interesting to me. I haven’t even looked at Tom Petty since I was, like, 10. For me, it makes me think about riding my bike in 1999 with a Walkman and headphones.
"I’m used to playing with my own band and doing things my own way. It’s interesting to come out almost karaoke style with a backing band."
A representative for Petty Fest’s parent group The Best Fest – which has put on Dylan Fest, Stones Fest and Young Fest in addition to Petty Fest – said the events have raised more than $100,000 for Sweet Relief. (Last weekend’s event in Nashville also featured members of Kings of Leon, The Black Keys as well as Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris and surprise guest Trisha Yearwood.)
Artists in Austin seemed excited to perform Petty’s songs. "His songs are like a subliminal message," Mayfield said. "You turn on the radio and every four or five songs you hear a Tom Petty song. It’s like a breath of fresh air."
"Cabin Down Below," Cabin Down Below Band
"Even the Losers," Butch Walker
"It’s Good to Be King," Danny Masterson with Josh Lattanzi
"I Won’t Back Down," Amanda Shires with Jason Isbell
"You Got Lucky," Jason Isbell with Amanda Shires
"Don’t Do Me Like That," Charlie Sexton
"Yer So Bad," Erika Wennerstrom
"I Need To Know," Erika Wennerstrom
"Breakdown," Jessica Lea Mayfield
"Last Night," Nolan Wheeler
"Honey Bee," Ruby Amanfu with Charlie Sexton
"You Don’t Know How It Feels," Doyle Bramhall
"Mary Jane’s Last Dance," Doyle Bramhall with Charlie Sexton
"Wildflowers," Adriel Denea
"You Wreck Me," The Whiskey Sisters
"Southern Accents," Cory Chisel
"Listen to Her Heart," Cory Chisel
"Runnin’ Down a Dream," The Whigs
"Time to Move On," Norah Jones
"This Old Town," Norah Jones
"Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around," Jakob Dylan & Norah Jones
"Rebels," Jakob Dylan
"Refugee," Lucas Nelson
"Don’t Come Around Here No More," Lukas Nelson with Ruby Amanfu
"The Waiting," Butch Walker with John Kent
"Handle with Care," Ian McLagan
"American Girl," Jason Isbell
"Free Fallin’," Cory Chisel