Review: Mellencamp puts fearless touch on American classics

John Mellencamp, “Different Other folks’s Stuff” (Republic Information)

In his early life John Mellencamp was once recognized to be cocky. That brashness carried him to the large degree, the place he changed into a stadium-scale rocker with an adventurous spirit.

He most commonly fell wanting the stature attained by way of contemporaries named Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, however he every now and then took larger dangers.

Mellencamp’s fearlessness is well-represented on his newest album, “Different Other folks’s Stuff,” a number of quilt songs, a few of them American classics, from 4 many years of labor.

There’s a model of “Stay Your Eyes at the Prize,” the outdated civil rights anthem, which Mellencamp offered at a White Area tournament in 2010. Mellencamp’s delicate interpretation would possibly marvel the ones no longer anticipating such soulful notes out of a white guy from the heartland.

There’s additionally a slowed-down tackle “Break of the Outdated ‘97,” the enduring educate track, and a Merle Travis track known as “Darkish as a Dungeon” that Mellencamp firstly carried out for a documentary about coal mining. Mellencamp’s earthy, cigarette-shaped growl conveys working-class honesty on each.

There are cuts that would slot in smartly on “The Lonesome Jubilee,” Mellencamp’s greatest album, with accordion and mess around bettering the hard-charging vibe. And there are hints all the way through, within the vary of songwriters he’s embraced — from Jimmie Rodgers to Robert Johnson to Stevie Marvel — that Mellencamp’s brashness every now and then takes him the place others received’t pass.

That’s an very important fact about Mellencamp’s profession that this assortment reinforces with gusto — that even if the songs don’t seem to be his personal, the person takes probabilities.

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