CD Life Death Love and Freedom [CD] [1 disc] (CD 1360471),
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Life Death Love and Freedom [CD] [1 disc]
1. Longest Days
2. My Sweet Love
3. If I Die Sudden
4. Troubled Land
5. Young Without Lovers
6. John Cockers
7. Don't Need This Body
8. Ride Back Home, A
9. Without a Shot
12. County Fair
13. For the Children
14. Brand New Song, A
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 30822
T-Bone Burnett; T-Bone Burnett
Emile Kelman; Matt Andrews; Mike Piersante; Paul Mahern; Emile Kelman; Michael Stucker; Scott Davis
Lyricist: John Mellencamp.
Personnel: John Mellencamp (vocals, guitars, acoustic guitar); Andy York (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, resonator guitar, mandolin, percussion, background vocals); T-Bone Burnett (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, baritone guitar, 6-string bass); Miriam Sturm (violin); Troye Kinnett (accordion, melodica, piano, organ, field organ, percussion); John Gunnell, Dennis Crouch (upright bass); Dane Clark (drums, hi-hat, maracas, shaker, tabla, tambourine); Mike Piersante (shaker); Janas Hoyt, Mike Wanchic (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Mike Piersante.
Recording information: Belmont Mall, Nashville, IN; Electro Magnetic Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Sound Emporium Studios, Nashville, TN.
Authors: John Mellencamp; T-Bone Burnett.
Editor: Jason Wormer.
Photographer: Elaine Mellencamp.
In stark contrast to the full-on, anthemic quality of his 2007 album, FREEDOM"S ROAD, John Mellencamp's '08 offering is a stark, spare affair. LIFE, DEATH, LOVE AND FREEDOM was overseen by legendary roots-rock producer T-Bone Burnett, and bears some similarity to Burnett's work on the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss '07 album RAISING SAND; there's a subtle, restrained quality to much of the material, and the arrangements tend toward a simple acoustic setup.
The doomy lo-fi folk/blues of such tunes as the mortality-minded "If I Die Sudden" and "Don't Need This Body" could also be cousins of Bruce Springsteen's dark NEBRASKA tunes. Once in a while, Mellencamp picks things up, as with the rockabilly-like kick of "My Sweet Love," but for the most part, this is a spare, low-key set, its acoustic framework adorned only by occasional dusty touches of spacious electric-guitar reverb, rolling across the barren sonic landscape like errant tumbleweeds.
Rolling Stone (p.88) - Ranked #5 in Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums Of 2008 -- "[T]he darkest, most compelling Mellencamp album in years."
Entertainment Weekly (p.65) - "Though he may be contemplating mortality, Mellencamp, with his weathered snarl, still sound remarkably alive." -- Grade: B
Dirty Linen (p.52) - "[T]hanks to Mellencamp's melodies and the musical settings provided by his band and Burnett's lush, spirited production, the songs shine as beacons..."
Billboard - "The eight-song album is an honest-to-goodness testament to Mellencamp's longevity, artistry and ability to connect with his audience."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.111) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Amid producer T Bone Burnett's open prairie sound and aptly distorted guitar moods, Mellencamp croaks a sequence of raw, all but nihilistic yet far from self-pitying first-person tales..."
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