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Freedom's Road

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Audio CD, January 23, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Freedom's Road, the culmination of a year's worth of composing, arranging, recording and mixing is a collection of songs that reflect the climate and concerns of present day America. Lyrically, the album is not overtly political but offers an insightful, plain-spoken perspective on contemporary conditions. The lyrics, contemplative and hopeful, are set off by the garage-born organic sound of Mellencamp and his band. Band members participating in the sessions for Freedom's Road included Mike Wanchic (guitar, vocals), Andy York (guitar, vocals, flute-a-phone), Miriam Sturm (violin), John Gunnell (bass), Dane Clark (drums), and Troye Kinnett (keyboards). The album's tone and themes are underscored by such Mellencamp-penned originals as 'Ghost Towns Along The Highway,' 'Rural Route,' and 'The Americans.' Of the album's title track, Mellencamp notes, `Freedom's Road' is a promise that you have to go through hell to redeem. Billboard called Our Country an appreciable fable of tolerance, hope and empowerment, citing his latest offering as 'a jubilant return.'

The heartland rocker's first album of all-new material in more than five years finds John Mellencamp in full anthem mode. This is his State of the Union address, with guitars that chime like the Byrds heralding sentiments that recall the socially-conscious 1960s, yet sound all the more pertinent today. Balancing the desolate landscape of "Ghost Towns Along the Highway," the hell-on-earth of "Rural Route," and the tolls demanded on the title track's "Freedom's Road" are the embrace of brotherhood on "Someday," the Everyman populism of "The Americans," and the soaring transcendence of "My Aeroplane." Within the context of the album's song cycle, the "Our Country" centerpiece sounds richer and more powerful than it has as a truck commercial--like a roots-rocking sequel to Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land." Mellencamp enlists Joan Baez for a duet on the protest ballad "Jim Crow," while saving his most blistering political commentary for the unlisted bonus track, "Rodeo Clown." --Don McLeese

1. Someday
2. Ghost Towns Along The Highway
3. The Americans
4. Forgiveness
5. Freedom's Road
6. Jim Crow
7. Our Country
8. Rural Route
9. My Aeroplane
10. Heaven Is A Lonely Place

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 23, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Republic
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,447 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I usually resist writing a review of a new album until I've had it a while and listened to it a few times through. Unless we are talking about a live album or a greatest hits compilation or something of that sort, reviewed from a rather technical aspect, I find that most albums - unless they immediately stand out as something truly amazing and/or original (and that doesn't happen often) - take a while to grow on me and my opinion of them tends to change after I take few listens. Fickle record buyers and listeners should beware not to pick up a new album, skip through the tracks and then dismiss it simply because nothing jumps out as a catchy single and/or something like the artist's past mega-hits.

I find this ideology applies to no one more than Mellencamp - and perhaps every classic rock artist still making albums to a fraction of the sales they had in their heyday. Adults don't buy albums the way kids do and if there is no new single from Mellencamp and his counterparts, fans may not even know he has a new album out, much less see any reason to buy it since he long ago stopped trying to duplicate his past hits just to stay on the singles charts. (This is also why the top tours every year are constantly from classic rockers, but their albums sell half of what the latest from 50 Cent and the like sell - too bad, but good for these guys standing their artistic ground).

So normally I would let my opinion of a new John Mellencamp record simmer until I have mulled over each song a bit more in order to discover my true feelings about it. But, since buying it this morning, I have listened to the album through a few times, revisited key songs that stand out a few more, and I think it is safe to say that this album earns a recommendation.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By P. J. on January 23, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Freedom's Road is an unparalleled assembly of musical masterpieces. John Mellencamp has never made "the same record" twice regarding sound and style. He holds true and stays the course with this release. While the "Cougar" fans may have stopped buying Mellencamp's releases some time ago, it is their loss that is most sad. John's songwriting did not even begin to peak until "Mr. Happy Go Lucky" in the mid/late '90's. Amazingly, that is 10 years ago. Mellencamp has been writing fresh, meaningful songs since then. However, some may say that as well-written as the songs were, they were lacking something. If that is true, John has discovered what was needed. It is the good ol' garage band rock-n-roll jam session sound that he brings to this party. Guitars cranking, challenging if not controversial lyrics, catchy hooks and beats, and superb band support. Throw all of that in with the backing vocals of the very talented Little Big Town throughout and you have the best Mellencamp release since the Cougar-Mellencamp days of the mid-late 80's. Most striking to me personally is that John is sending out his feelings and observations through incredibly catchy tunes. Highpoints are "The Americans" and "Someday" as likely radio hits. Tremendous album cuts include "Ghost Towns Along The Highway", "Forgiveness", and "My Aeroplane." By the way, if you think that "Our Country" is a tired old truck ad, think again. The song merits a full listen. I highly recommend Freedom's Road to any rock music fan. I challenge anyone willing to step up to the plate and at the very least question the state of our country. John Mellencamp has. Freedom's Road is a 5 star release that will have you strumming the guitars and pounding the drums of your imagination.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jef Fazekas on March 12, 2007
Format: Audio CD
While there may be some bumps along the way (cliched lyrics, underdeveloped melodies), John Mellencamp's new FREEDOM'S ROAD is a welcomed addition to an already sterling catalog. Not as strong as, say, SCARECROW, THE LONESOME JUBILEE, HUMAN WHEELS or MR. HAPPY GO LUCKY, but certainly better than DANCE NAKED and WHENEVER WE WANTED, the disc, for the most part, successfully showcases many of Mellencamp's strong points, as well as a few of his weaker ones. Things kick off with the easy, yet edgy, groove of "Someday", a classic JM cut. Awash in crisp instrumentation, a powerful lead vocal and soaring backing vocals, the track wraps around the pointed lyrics ("How many times can a spirit be broken/For this is the kingdom of heaven we're given/Good fortune will come to those who create peace") and doesn't let go. A great album opener! The same can be said for "Ghost Towns Along The Highway", which has an almost eerie, airy vibe to it. As Mellencamp questions whether Americans are being displaced against their will, or it's just their nature to roam, an angelic chorus chimes in, adding a touch of sorrow to this wistful, albeit powerful, track. Not as strong is "The Americans." Mellencamp has always been at his best when his music just seems to flow out of him. Conversely, he's at his worst when it seems forced. "The Americans" definitely seems forced, what with it's cliched lyrics and "been-there, done-that" know he's trying to "say" something, but what? Is it a simple, honest statement? Is he being condesending? Is he masking his true feelings? All in all, "The Americans" just doesn't gel the way Mellencamp's best material usually does. Far and away superior is the lovely "Forgiveness," probably the album's strongest cut.Read more ›
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Freedom's Road is a Disappointment and Mellencamp is a Hypocrite
I agree that he has indeed sold out. It really hit me hard when I found out about the commercial, but I don't think you should dismiss the album because of it. It is an excellent album, one of his best in fact. He stated on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he still thinks it's not a good idea to use... Read More
Feb 2, 2007 by Madeen |  See all 12 posts
Great first single...anyone heard anymore from this album?
Sirius satelite radio has been playing it while interviewing Mellencamp.
I really enjoyed the other tracks and plan on buying the cd on Jan 23rd when it is released.
Jan 18, 2007 by S. Miller |  See all 7 posts
John Cougar, you should be ashamed.
If he didn't put the song in the commercial,nobody would hear it because no radio stations play any new classic rock. So he has no choice. I don't blame him at all. If thats the way he has to get his great song out there, so be it!
Jan 10, 2007 by Robert Levine |  See all 63 posts
His best CD in 20 years Be the first to reply
'Our Country' ads ruined Football season Be the first to reply
No SACD/DVD-A? No Sale. Be the first to reply
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