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San Antonio Express: On The Rural Route 7609 Review
06.15.2010 - By Jim Beal Jr.

It's been a long time since John Mellencamp hasn't done things his way. When it came time to compile a career retrospective, the singer, songwriter, heartland rocker, painter, advocate for the family farmer and Americana godfather from Indiana could have hired someone to do the job. That's not the Mellencamp way.

For this four CD/fancy book package, with excellent liner notes penned by Anthony DeCurtis, Mellencamp jumped headfirst into the archives. He selected hits, demos, rarities, songs from a bunch of albums and a few spoken-word pieces, including one featuring his grandmother, Laura Mellencamp. Mellencamp then put them all together, not in chronological order, but in an order that flows something like a live show.

With 54 tracks, lyrics and essays about each entry, On the Rural Route 7609 is a heavy-duty, but nowhere near ponderous, look at Mellencamp as a songwriter. If you hit the rural route with John Mellencamp, it's not a short ride, but there are rewards, lots of 'em, along the way.
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