- "Our Country"
- "The Americans"
- "Rural Route"
- "Jim Crow"
Now on his 21st album (Freedom's Road), John Mellencamp has proven himself to be one of rock's most venerated and consistently popular performers. Ubiquitous again thanks to the placement of "Our Country" in a series of car commercials, Mellencamp — who cites Woody Guthrie as an idol — remains tuned in to the pulse of populist Americana.
Mellencamp began releasing albums in 1976, and started topping the charts a few years later, thanks to radio hits like "Hurts So Good," "Jack and Diane," "Pink Houses" and "Small Town." In the late '80s, Mellencamp expanded his sound, built a larger and more prominent backup band and toured to perpetually packed houses. In the '90s, he reinvented his image, shifting toward more subtle and introspective songwriting while employing blues, R&B and jazz sounds. To this day, Mellencamp's influence remains indisputable, both as a politically charged songwriter and as a gifted, eclectic pop singer.