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Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011

John Mellencamp

Tonight @ The Riverside Theater, 6:30 p.m.

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Like that other small-town-romanticizing heartland-rocker, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp balances pop prowess with bighearted, populist ambitions. Even his flag-waving Chevrolet-selling love letter to the working class, “Our Country,” was anchored by a progressive message of tolerance. If that song, with its triumphant accompaniment from country titans Little Big Town, felt a bit like a bid for the radio, there's nothing remotely commercial about Mellencamp's T Bone Burnett-produced latest album, No Better Than This, as straight of a folk album as he's ever made.