John Mellencamp

Album Review: The Mavericks, Mono

March 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Mavericks Mono For all of their commercial successes and industry recognition, The Mavericks were never a band that bowed to popular trends in country music. On Mono, the second album of their full-fledged revival, they play even faster and looser with genre conventions than ever before. The result is an album that, if not necessarily their best—What a Crying Shame and 2013’s In Time set particularly high standards— may be the most purely fun album of The Mavericks’ career.

Single Review: Zac Brown Band, “Homegrown”

February 23, 2015 // 5 Comments

“Homegrown” Zac Brown Band Written by Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, and Niko Moon Zac Brown Band has been doing so many variations on the same handful of themes – relaxing, drinking, digging your hometown – that each new release has to mix thing up a bit to justify its existence.

Single Review: Kenny Chesney, “American Kids”

June 25, 2014 // 11 Comments

If you’re going to keep revisiting the same themes, you might as well take some risks with your delivery. Kenny Chesney’s new single sounds fresher and more engaging than anything he’s done in a very long time.  It’s easy to miss that he’s singing about what he always sings about: nostalgia for growing up in the country with American rock as the soundtrack.   What makes “American Kids” work more than a lot his attempts with this theme is that sounds like he learned something listening to those Mellencamp and Springsteen records.  This record oozes charm and mature authority, like he’s finally lived long enough to look back and say, “Hey. We were kinda crazy back then.  But we all turned out alright in the end.” Written by Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, and Shane McAnally Grade: B+ httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZliR74HRwGU  

Review: Keith Urban, “‘Til Summer Comes Around”

December 29, 2009 // 11 Comments

Urban’s recent output has been upbeat and bright, so it’s a sucker punch to hear him in full melancholic mode again. But like John Mellencamp once sang, “It hurts so good.”

“‘Til Summer Comes Around” is a sadly beautiful tale about a man who lives in a summer town and falls in love with a girl who’ll be leaving at the end of the season. Using the emptiness of “everything is closing down” as a backdrop, Urban’s heartbreak becomes one with the town. Just as the carnival rides are shut down and have to wait out the fall, winter, and spring, so does Urban have to wait for his love that promises to come back.

The 201 Greatest Singles of the Decade, Part 5: #120-#101

December 18, 2009 // 44 Comments

The 201 Greatest Singles of the Decade, Part 5: #120-#101

120 Keith Urban Be Here

#120
“Tonight I Wanna Cry”
Keith Urban
2005
Peak: #2

A chillingly frank portrait of loneliness, awkward reference to “All By Myself” notwithstanding. Few mainstream vocalists today could pull off something this intense. – Dan Milliken

119 Loretta Van Lear Rose

#119
“Portland, Oregon”
Loretta Lynn with Jack White
2004
Peak: Did not chart

If you can take a healthy dose of dirty rock ‘n’ roll in your country, this is one of the coolest-sounding records of the decade, a classic one-night-stand duet. That it’s a very cross-generational pairing singing it would be creepy if not for the goofy smiles shining through Lynn’s and White’s performances. – DM

John Mellencamp, “My Sweet Love”

August 12, 2008 // 8 Comments

John Mellencamp’s “My Sweet Love” is surprisingly addictive. Lines such as “It sure would feel good to feel good again”, celebrate the feelings that accompany new found love. Its purposeful retro feel, rapid drum beat and strong bass combines to create a song that’s worthy of radio airplay, though it’s doubtful that country radio will be the place for it. Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild adds a prominent harmony vocal that elevates the song even more. Ultimately, the rockabilly and retro production of “My Sweet Love” seems like a song that might have fit nicely on Robert Plant’s and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand project. Written by John Mellencamp Grade: A- Listen: My Sweet Love Buy: My Sweet Love