John Mellencamp released his brand new album, Strictly A One-Eyed Jack, on Friday (January 21). To celebrate his milestone 25th studio album, Mellencamp performed an exclusive iHeartRadio ICONS show with an intimate audience at his recording studio in Indiana.
Strictly A One-Eyed Jack follows Mellencamp's 2017 album Sad Clowns & Hillbillies, and his live album The Good Samaritan Tour 2000, which he released in August 2021. This new album features twelve new songs from the rock star, including two collaborations with his longtime friend Bruce Springsteen ("Wasted Days" and "A Life Full of Rain").
During his iHeartRadio ICONS show, Mellencamp reflected on what this album says about him. After his many years of making music, he feels this album isn't really about him at all. "I've written a lot of songs and everything passes through me, but I'm just a vehicle," he explained. "This record really isn't about me. The songs aren't about me. I've written, like, 350 songs, I'm not that interesting of a guy."
"You have to be an observer," he said of writing songs. "I'm a good observer. I'm a good listener. I watch people and I hear what they say. So, this album says about me what it says about most everyone—who we really are and what we allow people to see."
When it came to having a collaborator join him on Strictly A One-Eyed Jack, there was nobody better than Springsteen. "I've known Bruce for a long time. Three to four years ago, we realized we have a lot in common," he shared. "We just became friends. Of all the people I've met in the music business, Bruce is probably the loveliest guy. Him and I have a very nice rapport. I enjoy being able to call him a friend."
Mellencamp has, unfortunately, had to cancel plans to tour many times over the past few years due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As far as whether he'll be hitting the road this year, he says he's not so sure just yet. In the meantime, though, he encourages all of us to work together to bring the pandemic to an end so live music can truly safely return. "We'll see how it goes. Who knows what's in front of us," he said. "All we can do is be kind to each other. I think the best thing we can do is try to be the best citizens we can be and be kind to people who don't agree with us."
Mellencamp kicked off his set with the classic 'Small Town.' He followed up with 'Troubled Man,' 'Jack and Diane,' and 'Wasted Days.' He finished off his memorable performance with 'Ain't That America,' 'I Always Lie To Stranges' and 'Longest Days.'
Strictly A One-Eyed Jack is available now.