JM and me
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.