Friday, January 21, 2022

John Mellencamp released Strictly a One-Eyed Jack

Strictly a One-Eyed Jack

John Mellencamp

Released: January 21, 2022

Peak: 196 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: rock/Americana


Song Title [time] (date of single release)

  1. I Always Lie to Strangers [3:36]
  2. Driving in the Rain [3:25]
  3. I Am a Man That Worries [4:33]
  4. Streets of Galilee [2:49]
  5. Sweet Honey Brown [5:18]
  6. Did You Say Such a Thing (with Bruce Springsteen) [3:39] (1/21/22, --)
  7. Gone So Soon [3:31]
  8. Wasted Days (with Bruce Springsteen) [4:31] (9/29/21, --)
  9. Simply a One-Eyed Jack [4:41]
  10. Chasing Rainbows [3:27] (12/10/21, --)
  11. Lie to Me
  12. A Life Full of Rain (with Bruce Springsteen) [5:27]

All songs written by John Mellencamp.

Total Running Time: 48:37

The Players:

  • John Mellencamp (vocals, acoustic guitar)
  • Andy York (guitar, etc.)
  • Mike Wanchic (electric guitar, backing vocals)
  • Troye Kinnett (piano, accordina, organ, harmonica)
  • John Gunnell (bass)
  • Dane Clark (drums, percussion)
  • Merritt Lear (violin, backing vocals)
  • Miriam Sturm (violin)
  • Joey Tartell (trumpet)
  • Bruce Springsteen (electric guitar, vocals)


3.606 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

About the Album:

John Mellencamp wrote most of the songs for his 25th album, Strictly a One-Eyed Jack, before the Covid-19 pandemic. When the pandemic hit, he shut down recording sessions for a year, resuming in March 2021. However, at least one song (Driving in the Rain) was inspired by the pandemic. The phrase is one Mellencamp’s grandfather used to warn John about him living dangerously. WK

Mellecamp approached the songs as if they all came from the voice of one character, saying, “It was the same messenger delivering these songs to me. And I realized that this is one guy’s story. And I felt it was important to make sure that this guy was represented properly.” FB

He says, “When I was a kid, I used to try to control the song. I’d write a verse and I’d go, ‘Oh, I can’t go there.’ But in the last 10 years, I let the songs go where they wanna go, not where I want them to go.” FB “You can’t control art. True art is when you let the art go where it wants to go.” FB

“For those willing to go on the dark journey with Mellencamp the album is a masterpiece.” FB The album is “stark, gritty, raw, unflinching, elegiac, profound and brutally honest.” FB The opening track, I Always Lie to Strangers, is written from “the point of view of someone who admits their constant deceit” FB while Lie to Me addresses “how, as a society, we are so used to being lied to we accept that is just the way it is.” FB

Chasing Rainbows, which was released as the second single, “offers the message that money does not lead to happiness and advises people to recognize their blessings.” WK The song features guest musician Merritt Lear harmonizing on the chorus with Mellencamp. WK

“The jazz elegy of the mournful Gone So Soon [hits] as hard emotionally as anything Mellencamp has done.” FB The song, “with its late-night jazz club arrangement…is about a relationship ending.” WK He says, “Well, the cigarettes are starting to pay off…I sounded like Louis Armstrong.” FB

The album is notable for its first-time collaborations between Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen. In April 2021, John invited Bruce to his recording studio in Belmont, Indiana, where they worked together on three songs for the album. Wasted Days, a full-fledged duet between the pair, was released as the first single. Did You Say Such a Thing, featured guitar and backing vocals from Springsteen while A Life of Rain featured Bruce just on guitar.

“Wasted Days” is sung from the perspective of a man who realizes his days are numbered. He asks questions such as, “How many summers still remain?” Mellencamp’s guitarist, Andy York, said, “Ultimately your takeaway from that song is you need to squeeze every bit of happiness and life out of every day and not waste days.” WK

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