No Better Than This Review

lick HERE to read's Dave Curtis reviews John's new album No Better Than This. Visit their website for the complete review which includes several pictures and audio samples. Here is the full text of the review:

Anyone who may have doubted that John Mellencamp's recent retrospective box set On the Rural Route 7609 would indelibly mark a significant turning point in the famed Hoosier rocker's career need only take a listen to his new August 17 album No Better Than This (Rounder). Recorded using a single microphone and an Ampex tape recorder half a century old by legendary producer T-Bone Burnett, Mellencamp's thirteen new raw and ragged songs manage to toss in every stylistic influence of traditional, uniquely American music: country and folk ("Clumsy Old World"), bluegrass and rockabilly ("Coming Down the Road"), blues and gospel ("Right Behind Me"), all elements of the roots-driven rock that has come to define, particularly in recent years, the Mellencamp sound.

Recorded on the fly, in a variety of historical locations (including Memphis' Sun Studios), No Better Than This puts Mellencamp's basic songwriting skills in unique perspective. "I am done being a rock star,” he says in a recent interview. “I have no interest in that, in having the biggest concerts. I have only one interest: to have fun while we’re doing this and maybe have something that somebody might discover." Whether or not Mellencamp's decision is more economic than philosophical is pretty much a moot point (ask Springsteen, Petty, Seger, Miller). What he's managed to do over the last decade is admirable: keep moving, evolving, exploring, even revisiting his roots, as he does here. If 7609 is a bookend, No Better Than This wipes the slate clean and resets the odometer.