Friday, June 29, 2007

JM and me

Since the mid 1980's, I've been a fan of John Mellencamp. I think Scarecrow was one of the first albums I purchased, and Uh-Huh was not far behind. I don't have much of his recent work, mostly mid 80's to mid 90's.

Recently, I started playing his CDs in my truck as I went to do business, starting with Scarecrow and up to Big Daddy. Doing so brought back a flood of memories.

I cannot hold back a tear when I hear Scarecrow. Something inside of me connects to that time in the 80's when we were on the verge of losing our farm and that song. The sound of creeking gates, the drums pounding...97 crosses planted on the courthouse yard...that was in nearby Lucas County. Minutes to Memories also holds a wealth of advice that I cannot ignore to this day. It helped set my life in perspective.

Lonesome Jubilee was the soundtrack to my mid high school years. I can still remember its songs playing through the soundsystem in my 1966 Ford Mustang, on the way to basketball practice or golf. It was different than Scarecrow, with more biting commentary of the Reagan era. Same with Big Daddy. Country Gentleman pretty summed up the way I felt about Ronaldus Magnus back then. David Stockman was on my hit list at age 12...can you believe that?

His songs helped shape the person I am today. What he wrote in 1985 is now hitting me today at the same age he was then. The burden and excitement of parenthood, the transition from youth to adult, the national politics that somehow needle their way to your plain existence in nowhere Middle America. Back then I was too young to understand everything he said. Now I have an idea about what he was writing at the time.

I might not agree today with John Mellencamp today on every issue, but I will respect him for his music and his views. He's come a long ways, and he's brought us along for the ride. He does give us a unique perspective into Middle America that is oftentimes dimmed out by the likes of Brittany and Eminem. His songs, at least for me, helped provide definition and direction.


Blogger Iowa Farm Boy said...

Great to visit you Blog. I no longer live in Iowa, but I publish a Blog dedicated to "Iowa Tractor Boys." I was born and raised in Clayton County, Iowa which is right along side the Mississippi River. Guttenberg was and still is the largest town in the County.

Clayton County as far as I know is the only County in Iowa that does not have a Traffic Light.

I believe that is their claim to fame. Additionally, the town of Clayton is the home to "Patterson Brothers" Grain Elevator and Storage. They load barges of corn for shippment down the Father of Waters.

Visit my Blog at:

1:03 PM, February 15, 2008  

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