Forgive John Mellencamp a sense of urgency when it comes to figuring out how to let the world know he has a new album coming. His "Freedom's Road" is due this week on UMe/Universal Republic.

Forgive John Mellencamp a sense of urgency when it comes to figuring out how to let the world know he has a new album coming. His "Freedom's Road" is due this week on UMe/Universal Republic.

"I want my records to be heard, that's why I write 'em," says the Indiana-based rocker, who spent about a year making his 20th studio album at Belmont Mall, the studios and rehearsal facility near his home in Bloomington, Ind. "They're not going to play me on top 40 radio ever again. MTV doesn't even play videos anymore. How do you get it out there and ... stay relevant?"

It's a challenge that's being taken up enthusiastically by his label, which not only has a strong idea of how to set up "Freedom's Road" but also a sense of what it doesn't think will work for Mellencamp. In a break from his past reluctance to license his music for commercials, the artist consented to use album track "Our Country" for a series of Chevy Silverado ads.

Despite some unfavorable opinions of it in the press, the track has sold 48,000 digital copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and airplay has been strong enough to earn Mellencamp his first mention on the Billboard Hot 100 in nine years. "'Our Country' is the most John Mellencamp-sounding record on it," Mellencamp says. "I think people are gonna go, 'Wow!,' or they're gonna go, 'What is he trying to do?'"