Arkansas Democrat Gazette: Best Reissues of 2010 - On The Rural Route 7609 By Ellis Widner

 #2 . John Mellencamp, On the Rural Route 7609, Island/ Mercury, four CDs, $99.99

This box, packaged like a hardcover book, captures the essence of John Mellencamp’s life and career. And its title? “I started making records in ’76, and the most recent track on the collection was done in ’09. So Rural Route 7609; it’s like an address. I thought it sounded cool,” Mellencamp told writer Anthony DeCurtis in the superb liner notes of this excellent retrospective, which focuses not on hits, but the key songs of his career.

“For anyone interested in finding the real John Mellencamp, this is where he’s been, and where he lives,” DeCurtis writes.

Couldn’t agree more. That is the key to understanding the music and the man, or misunderstanding both.