Singer and guitarist Kurt Vile did his best Tom Petty impression at the SiriusXM studios in New York earlier this week, and by the sounds coming from the pro-shot video above of him playing "Learning To Fly," he did a pretty good job. The chilled-out rocker from Philadelphia was at the radio station this week to promote his forthcoming studio album, Bottle It In, which arrives this Friday. Vile’s performance of the feel-good Tom Petty single from 1991 seems to fit his laid-back personality perfectly with its acoustic strumming-based foundation that has become Vile’s own trademark style throughout his career as an alt-rock hero for a new generation.
Vile enlisted the help of his musical friend the looping machine for the one-man performance, which controls the song’s four main chords in addition to providing the drum beat. Vile handles the rest of the instrumentation himself as his nasally and calmingly relaxed vocals come in to start the song’s opening verse at the 50-second mark. The cover definitely has its fair share of Vile’s trademark weirdness in terms of how he twists and distorts the pronunciation of lyrics to his own fitting. There’s always so much pressure and unnecessary critique any time a younger artist performs a song from their pop predecessors. Unfortunately for haters and over-anxious Tom Petty fans, the cover of the song carries with it plenty of inspiring energy and guitar work that Tom surely would have been happy with.
Vile isn’t the only modern rocker to put a spin on Tom Petty while visiting SiriusXM. Southern roots-rock outfit The Revivalists recently covered Petty’s “Wildflowers” during their own live performance at the radio's fishbowl offices.
Vile will continue promotion of the new album before it arrives on Friday. The 38-year-old indie rocker and his band will play across North America starting late next month and into December, before picking the tour back up shortly after the start of the New Year with more shows scheduled for February and March. Tickets to select shows on Vile’s 2018-19 North American tour are on sale now and can be purchased by clicking here.