Home Read Albums Of The Week: John Mellencamp | Strictly A One-Eyed Jack

Albums Of The Week: John Mellencamp | Strictly A One-Eyed Jack

The cover may be laughable, but the Little Bastard isn't kidding on his 25th album as he rasps and rumbles his way through a first-rate set of rugged, rustic roots-rock.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:John Mellencamp’s 25th studio album, Strictly A One-Eyed Jack was written and produced by Mellencamp, recorded at his Belmont Mall Studios in Indiana, and recorded/mixed by Grammy winner David Leonard. It features a number of longtime band members including Andy York, Dane Clark, Mike Wanchic, Troye Kinnett, and more. It also features three collaborations with Bruce Springsteen, including the landmark duet Wasted Days.

Born Oct. 7, 1951 in Indiana, Mellencamp fell in love with music at an early age and was gigging in local bars and fronting a soul band by the time he was 14. His professional music career began in earnest in 1976 with his first album The Chestnut Street Incident. His manager dubbed him Johnny Cougar out of his belief that nobody would buy a record by anybody named Mellencamp. John protested but was overruled and eventually, of course, reclaimed his birth name as his public name.

In 1985, John’s concern for the plight of the American farmer, which had been voiced in the Scarecrow album, brought him together with Willie Nelson and Neil Young in launching Farm Aid. It became an annual event and has helped make people aware of the issues farmers face and how they affect on the entire nation.

Mellencamp was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 and is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He’s a Grammy winner and the recipient of numerous awards, including The Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck Awards, ASCAP Foundation’s Champion Award and their highest honor the Founders Award, the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting and the Billboard Century Award, amongst a host of other honors.

John also continues to focus on another facet of his artistic expression: painting. His style has progressed over the years as evidenced by several museum, and gallery exhibits and published portfolios, and in recent years he has increased his output by completing over 300 new works. He has had exhibitions with Miles Davis in L.A., solo exhibitions at the famed Butler Museum in Ohio, and several at galleries in New York City including Binding Wires, the two-man exhibition featuring works by John and Robert Rauschenberg.

The unique instrumentation of John’s band and his poignant songs about everyday life in the American heartland are widely credited with being the forbearer of the Americana/No Depression genre of rural-inflected music. Mellencamp continues his journey as the walking embodiment of heartland rock: passionate, plain-spoken and a self-proclaimed rebel.”