On the Rural Route 7609
This is a massive undertaking where John Mellencamp (Cougar no more) restructures his recording career, from 1976 to 2009 as the title states, and turns it into one big sprawling American myth. The man who captured a certain breathless Middle America in “Jack & Diane” now recreates the path that has led him to his own personal version of his take on roots music. His own grandmother can be heard singing on “Grandma’s Theme.” Professor, author and civil rights activist Cornell West reads Mellencamp’s “Jim Crow.” An alternate take of “Rain On the Scarecrow” gives the tune a juke- joint life; an alternate take of “Deep Blue Heart” features Trisha Yearwood and commands a different perspective. An acoustic demo of “Jenny At 16” shows the roots for the acoustic demo of “Jack & Diane” before the “hit” version closes out the “first disc.” Joanne Woodward reads “The Real Life.” Demos of “Authority Song” and “Our Country” sit alongside demos for “Peaceful World” and a darker version of “Rural Route.” Longtime fans will be astounded by Mellencamp’s catalog depth. Casual listeners will discover a whole new Mellencamp.