After a 10-year break from recording, McGuinn returned with an album that clearly touched base with the sound of the band that made him famous, but with a few shiny modern motifs. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, whose own debt to The Byrds has always been evident, were on hand to help shape a set of songs perfectly suited to cruising down a California highway.
The Petty co-write King Of The Hill is a harmony-laden rumination on the hollowness of celebrity that reads like a detached overview of McGuinn’s own past, while Car Phone (with spoken interlude by Kimmy Robertson, aka Lucy in Twin Peaks) pokes fun at self-important Hollywood execs.
Though Byrds comparisons are inevitable, they’re perhaps a little too obvious on Elvis Costello’s You Bowed Down, which sounds like he fed half a dozen of the group’s hits into a computer and casually demoed the results. The overall consistency impresses, and McGuinn has struggled to better the album in the intervening years, but his mighty 60s catalogue can’t help but overshadow affairs.