Freedom's Roadby John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp has always been a feisty little guy -- the sort of fella who doesn't necessarily go out looking for a fight but who's willing to rumble at the drop of a hat, should a worthy cause present itself. From the sound of this disc, his first set of new material in five years, the Hoosier hellion has found plenty of causes to take on. Despite the fact that the now-ubiquitous "Our Country" was first heard as the backdrop of a car commercial, it's clear from even a cursory listen that Freedom Road is a hardscrabble paean to the guts-and-glory side of working-class America. That wizened-yet-wistful longing for the days when a workingman (or -woman) could carve out a proper niche is palpable on songs like the aching "Ghost Towns Along the Highway." Freedom Road isn't a nostalgia album, though, not by a long shot. That's evident in the rock-ribbed delivery of the stripped-bare "Jim Crow," on which Mellencamp recruits Joan Baez to help underscore the intensity of his feelings on racial disharmony. A similar dissatisfaction courses through "Rodeo Clown," an unabashedly acerbic takedown that could be construed as a slap against the overall culture of Washington, D.C. -- but, upon further review, is directed more pointedly at the current resident of the White House. There's nothing particularly fancy about Freedom Road -- neither the homespun harmonies, the campfire melodies, nor the plainspoken lyrics have a whit of artiness about them -- but the way it sticks to the ribs makes it exceedingly, lastingly satisfying.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsJohn Mellencamp Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Joan Baez Vocals,Guest Appearance
Dane Clark Percussion,Drums
Mike Wanchic Guitar,Vocals
Andy York Guitar,Vocals
Miriam Sturm Violin
Scott Davis Percussion
Troye Kinnett Keyboards
John Gunnell Bass Guitar
Technical CreditsJoan Baez Duet
Eddie Kramer Engineer
Paul Mahern Engineer
John Mellencamp Composer,Producer,Paintings,Audio Production
Don Smith Engineer
Andy York Vocal Arrangements
June Murakawa Engineer
George Corsillo Art Direction,Drawing
Mike Stucker Engineer
Scott Davis Engineer,Studio Coordinator
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I love the music but the disc I received is defective. Song no. 10, Heaven Is Lonely Place, has a 3-4 minute gap in the music. I assume this is a recording defect and not part of the song. Strange.
Couple of good tracks, but I want the old John back--not this John who had to do a little Bush-bashing before he finished. Please don't let politics or Joan Baez tarnish all the good stuff you've done.
This is a fantastic album from an artist who has standed the test of time. The music sounds great and he has one of the most talented bands that has been together for a very long time.
When you need Joan Baez to help you with your CD, it's time to stop making CDs. The lyrics are just corny. And there are times when I can't even understand the lyrics because of the way he's singing. You'll get a taste of what I saying by just playing the samples.
This may be John's best work ever. The sound of the album with the backing of Little Big Town is superb. This is the type of album that you can listen to over and over and never get tired of it.
Another great album by Mellencamp! Too bad he had to use GM to promote his efforts to get on today's mainstream radio, yet this album proves John's ability to overcome radio bureaucracy.
This is a great record. Great sounds. "Heaven Is A Lonely Place" is the most underrated. But why is there a 4-minute gap between it at "Rodeo Clown"???? Best mix of accustic, electric, banging drums, bass and John himself since "Lonesom Jubilee".