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Freedom's Road

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Editors’ Notes

John Mellencamp has always been a mess of contradictions: A populist singer who claimed he never wanted to be a pop singer, a successful heartland rocker who received mixed reviews from his critics and who spent as much time painting on his Indiana farm as he did working crowds the world over. Recluse or rock star? Mellencamp’s a product of the working class Midwest who never lost his stubborn streak or his generous spirit. Freedom’s Road is his heartfelt reaction to the post 9-11 world and while it contains its share of awkward moments — “The Americans” scans more like a jingle for a youth organization than a song — it also has a warm, empathetic vibe (try “Forgiveness,” for starters) that makes rooting for the self-confessed “Little Bastard” an easy task. There’s a spooky Counting Crows-meets-Robbie Robertson vibe to “Ghost Towns Along the Highway” and the title track, and an econoline country-rock groove dominates “Someday” and “Our Country “ (as heard in a car commercial). Joan Baez joins in for the eerie “Jim Crow.” Essentially, Mellencamp’s our country’s best paid social worker, bringing attention to those who have slipped through the cracks and giving a human face to a myriad of societal ills.

Customer Reviews

Freedom's Road is a trip worth taking

John Mellencamp continues to amaze me with his eloquent words that pierces me straight through the heart and soul of my being. The stories he is telling with each and every song on this album is a journey we all take through our lives searching for tolerance, forgiveness and understanding. This is definately John's best work in years. I highly recommend this album for everyone!

Freedom's Road is a Straight Shot.

It's almost impossible to write a review of Freedom's Road without addressing the Chevy Truck tie in with the over-the-top ballad "Our Country." For many, this is the ultimate sell out. But just for a moment, let's look at this from the point of view from a midwestern guy. You've seen you career go from Mtv (1980's) to VH1 (1990's) to VH1 Classic (2000's). In short, your stuff don't get played like it used to. So when Chevy comes along asking for sponsorship, sure you're skeptical at first. But you'd be getting airplay, helping out an American car company, and possibly keep some jobs from going abroad. Besides, even Sting got away with pitching Jaguars. People from the midwest can be liberal and conservative, (Mellencamp tends to be the former.) But above all things, we are practical and unapolgically so, which is why many of the coastal folks find us charming. (Recall John's early release "Nothing Matters and What If It Did?") If the moral dillema of the new synergy between marketing and art still keeps you up at night, I highly suggest reading Naomi Klein's wonderful 450-page novel "No Logo" for further insight on the subject. For those of the lefty persuasion, grab a copy of John's 2003 excellent blusey-folk CD Trouble No More, complete with "To Washington" a feisty acoustic middle-finger to Bush's foreign policy. Now for an actual review. John Mellencamp is a man of contradictions, and writes music that has found a way to cross all lines, from political to racial. Freedom Road extends this policy, and is more accessible to a divided America that's now Red, White Vs. Blue. He's still asking tough questions, but surprisingly more hopeful than in previous albums. The bittersweet "Ghost Towns Along The Highway" explains itself. "Rodeo Clown" & "Jim Crow," still tackle hard issues. Even "Our Country" which is his olive branch to the right side of America, lyrically isn't just the flag waving propaganda that it appears to be. in short, you won't find anything new here, just a decent solid recording consistent like a trip down I-65. In fact, this record is the flip side to 1996's brilliantly moody and cynical Mr. Happy Go Lucky. Freedom Road stays the course, a straight shot hoping to reunite a divided country. Contradicting himself again, he's decided to lock the troublemaker reputation in the shed, for now. And should this CD prove to be a major hit, it will be interesting to see where this road takes him.

Buy This Album

John has out done himself on this album. The lyrical content, musical direction, harmonies, and everything about this album are top-notch. So much of music today doesn't carry a message, but this album sends a clear message. Any Mellencamp fan, any fan of Rock Music, any fan of Heartland Pop, any fan of America should purchase this CD. "Ghost Towns Along the Highway" a great song about the gentrification of this great country. "Our Country" a great homage to what we are all a part of. "Jim Crow" with Joan Baez...need I say more. Finally, in this era comes some good protest music. Music with heart, soul, a message, and something you can take away and chew on after you listen. Two Words...Absolutely Brilliant.


Born: October 7, 1951 in Seymour, IN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Throughout his career, John Mellencamp has had to fight, whether it was for the right to record under his own name or for respect as an artist. Of course, he never made it easy on himself. Mellencamp began his career in the late '70s as a Bruce Springsteen clone called Johnny Cougar. As his career progressed, his music became more distinctive, developing into a Stonesy blend of hard rock and folk-rock. His musical development coincided with his growth in popularity -- by the time "Hurts So Good"...
Full Bio
Freedom's Road, John Mellencamp
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  • Partial Album
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Hard Rock, Pop, Pop/Rock, Arena Rock
  • Released: Jan 23, 2007

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