One Track Mind: John Fogerty, “Mystic Highway” from Wrote a Song for Everyone (2013)

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Sounding more like the Eagles than anything so raw and rootsy as Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty’s new song “Mystic Highway” offers a country-rocking groove to go with a dreamily optimistic lyric.

Well, at first, anyway. After setting this ruminative scene, Fogerty unleashes a searching, anthematic guitar solo, hurtling us toward a fun sing-along moment at the bridge — reconnecting completely with his earlier band before returning once again to the initial theme of hopeful reminiscence that opened “Mystic Highway.”

There’s a sense of building on Fogerty’s legacy of music, rather than simply trying to reanimate it. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for much of the rest of Wrote a Song for Everyone, an upcoming retrospective project from Vanguard Records packed with remakes from throughout Fogerty’s career.

“Mystic Highway” is, along with “Train of Fools,” one of the few tracks not to feature some guest star or another, this modern-day record-company conceit that screams Event Record but instead always guarantees a bumpy ride.

The list of duet partners here, often quite predictably, stretches from the interesting (the Foo Fighters add a edgy menace to “Fortunate Son”; Jennifer Hudson sizzles on “Proud May,” with an assist by the Rebirth Brass Band) to the head scratching (Kid Rock on “Born on the Bayou”) to the blandly uninteresting (Dawes on “Someday Never Comes”; Bob Seger, surprisingly enough, on “Who’ll Stop the Rain”).

Ultimately, however, none of it feels as present and intriguing as moments like “Mystic Highway,” when Fogerty stands alone — reigniting his muse, taking us to new musical places. Wrote a Song for Everyone is set for release on May 28, 2013.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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