Any American artist pondering how to make their next album more authentic might as well just give up right now: John Mellencamp has already beaten you. This new album - his second to be produced by T. Bone Burnett - was recorded with one microphone (for the whole band) onto tape (not a computer) in mono (not stereo). And where was it recorded? In Sun Studio in Memphis, with the band arranged according to a floor plan drawn up by Sam Phillips, Elvis' producer; and in the very same hotel room where Robert Johnson recorded in 1936; and in the First African Baptist Church in Savannah - America's first black church. All of which would be mere gimmickry if the music wasn't any good. Fortunately, this low-key, eclectic mix of folk, country and rockabilly styles thoroughly deserves the care taken over its creation.