Hot Product

John Mellencamp

'Trouble' Afoot

CougJohn Mellencamp's new Columbia covers album, "Trouble No More," is led by "To Washington," inspired by Woody Guthrie and the Carter Family but with new lyrics by Mellencamp. The song questions President George W. Bush's motives at waging war against Iraq: "He wants to fight with many / And he says it's not for oil / He sent out the National Guard / To police the world."

"In most of these songs, it's a case of 'please, can we have some mercy?'," Mellencamp says of "Trouble No More," which also features "Stones in My Passway" (Robert Johnson), "Death Letter" (Son House), "Johnny Hart" (Woody Guthrie), "Baltimore Oriole" (Hoagy Carmichael), "Teardrops Will Fall" (Dickie Do and the Don'ts), "Diamond Joe" (traditional, recorded by Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Tom Rush), "End of the World" (Skeeter Davis), "Joliet Bound" (Joe McCoy), "Lafayette" (Lucinda Williams), "John the Revelator" (traditional), and "Down at the Bottom" (Willie Dixon).

"You think you know about the history of music, of folk and blues," Mellencamp says of revisiting the original source material, "but it was so much more than I had expected; it goes much deeper than you can imagine." The making of the album was chronicled by a crew from Indiana University in Mellencamp's Bloomington, Ind., homebase and will be offered to PBS stations later this year.