San Antonio Express News: No Better Than This Review

San Antonio Express News By Jim Beal Jr.

So what does a 58-year-old member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame do in the age of Lady Gaga?

"If it's not fun, I'm not going to do it," John Mellencamp said last August at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel while recording the song "Right Behind Me" for this 13-track recorded-on-historic-location mono album. The result isn't belly laughs fun. The result is a powerful collection of heartfelt, no punches pulled songs recorded on vintage gear by Mellencamp, a small cast of first-class acoustic players and producer T Bone Burnett.

Mellencamp is in his best populist troubadour songwriter mode with the uplifting opener "Save Some Time to Dream," the blues of "Right Behind Me," the grit of "The West End," the bleak "No One Cares About Me" and the closer, "Clumsy Ol' World," the most honest, realistic love song since John Prine's "In Spite of Ourselves."

Mellencamp means what he writes and sings and writes and sings what he means, and his accompanists are with him every note of the way. The fun comes in when listeners realize there's smart, soulful and moving music by and for card carrying members of AARP. And it won't kill the kids to listen, either.