Out today (January 21st) is John Mellencamp's 25th album, Strictly A One-Eyed Jack, which features three new collaborations with Bruce Springsteen.

The new team-ups come after a series get-togethers by the pair in their respective parts of the country. Back on September 16th, Springsteen and Mellencamp were spotted in Bay Head, New Jersey. The two legends posed for a picture with a fan on a boardwalk and were seen enjoying lunch together at the local Duyne Grass Cafe.

In April 2021, "The Boss" was spotted out to dinner with Mellencamp in his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana after laying down guitar and vocals on album.

Mellencamp spoke about the connection he and Springsteen share, telling USA Today, "Bruce and I have grown to be almost brothers, and I love the guy. He’s been an inspiration and I told him, you made me work harder, I’ve gotta compete with that. Bruce was a blessing to me all along. Maybe I didn’t see it that way, but I do now."

On how the new music took shape between the two, Mellencamp explained, "Bruce came to Indiana and stayed at my house. I have a studio (nearby). He stayed for four or five days. Bruce is a good guy. He’s a sweet guy, and I think the world of him. We come from very similar backgrounds — small towns. I think I had it a little easier than Bruce as a kid. I had a motorcycle, my dad was vice president of an electrical firm, I never wanted for money. I was singing in rock bands and playing in bars when I was 12. I was making money. I was the best-dressed kid in my class."

While chatting with SiriusXM’s E Street Radio, John Mellancamp discussed his long relationship with Bruce Springsteen: ["I would consider Bruce, now, one of my better friends in the music business. Bruce and I talk quite a bit. He and I relate to each other because we've had similar experiences of growing up in a small town, and y'know, starting out, and being bandleaders. 'Cause, y'know, Bruce — y'know, for guys like me — I'm a couple of years younger than him — he put down a big footprint, y'know, and he said, 'Fill it.' And it inspired a lot of guys to work a little bit harder."] SOUNDCUE (:27 OC: . . . little bit harder)

John Mellencamp, who's been writing, recording and releasing albums for over 45 years, told us that he fears that due to technology and the public's lack of respect towards creativity, the commercial artist's days are sadly numbered: ["As a society and what we gathered as entertainment (and) as important has definitely taken a turn for the worst and it's just going to get worse because who with any sense would go, 'Y'know, I wanna be a book writer.' Why? So that you can put it up on the Internet and not sell a book. You can't make a living doing that. Everybody thinks music should be free, everybody thinks books should be free, and all the entertainment things that you and I grew up with are going to go the way of the drive-in theater. By the time we die, they're just not going to exist in the form that we even recognize."] SOUNDCUE (:33 OC: . . . we even recognize)

The tracklisting to John Mellencamp's 'Strictly A One-Eyed Jack' is:

"I Always Lie To Strangers"
"Driving In The Rain"
"I Am A Man That Worries"
"Streets Of Galilee"
"Sweet Honey Brown"
"Did You Say Such A Thing" – with Bruce Springsteen
"Gone So Soon"
"Wasted Days" – with Bruce Springsteen
"Simply A One-Eyed Jack"
"Chasing Rainbows"
"Lie To Me"
"A Life Full Of Rain" – with Bruce Springsteen

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