John Mellencamp, and John Fogerty

Break out the blue collars

Beyond obvious nostalgia (and having the same first name), this pairing of classic rock veterans makes a certain amount of sense. Consider that both drink from the well of rich American musical styles: country, bluegrass, folk. Remember that both got undeservedly overshadowed by their higher-profile peers -- Springsteen and Petty in Mellencamp's case; the Beatles and Stones in relation to Fogerty's Creedence Clearwater Revival. Each wrote common-man protest songs that gained immediacy because they seemed to speak to red-staters directly -- although, irony of ironies, those same listeners more than likely voted for Bush anyway. And, fine, both of their artistic legacies are now based on albums deep in the past (for the record, though, Mellencamp's '90s output is better than you realize). Nevertheless, if you're not afraid to hang out with a crowd of people your parents' age, prepare to be consistently surprised by formidable songbooks of moral certitude and deathless hooks.

 
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