The 51-year-old singer – whose father is folk hero Bob Dylan – grew close to the late musician before his death in 2017, and he felt that influence as he worked The Wallflowers’ latest collection ‘Exit Wounds’.
He told The Sun newspaper: “Tom’s presence loomed over me and this record heavily.
“I’d been around him plenty when I was younger but, in the last few years, I got to spend even more time with him. He became powerful in my personal life… and it was towards the end of his life.”
Jakob explained how instrumental Petty’s music has been throughout his life, and he “felt a great emptiness” after his death.
He added: “He was right there when I started songwriting and, one way or another, his music has always been in my life.
“He wasn’t one of those acts I liked who came and went but a constant.
“I wouldn’t dare call him a peer yet he was very generous with his time. His passing was shocking to everybody, but I hadn’t realised just how connected I was to him.”
And he paid tribute to the ‘America Girl’ icon’s humility and passion for music as he reflected on speaking to Petty in what was the last interview filmed before his death.
Jakob pondered: “He lacked arrogance. I’m sorry to say it but some people from that generation are a*******. They’re competitive, they’re not comfortable and there’s bitterness but not Tom.
“He was never punishing. He let me share the stage with him and he let me interview him for Echo In The Canyon. In the film, he spoke about music with pure, thrilling enjoyment.”