The Americana Music Association awarded John Fogerty with a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting last week. As the 2009 honoree, Fogerty joins an elite list of previous recipients which includes John Hiatt, Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, Guy Clark, Cowboy Jack Clement, John Prine and Billy Joe Shaver.
Throughout his prolific career, John Fogerty has celebrated and shaped American roots music.
He is a quintuple threat: songwriter, singer, lead guitarist, arranger, and producer. A roots classicist in love with Memphis-style rockabilly, New Orleans-drenched rhythm-and-blues, and classic country styles, Fogerty was ahead of his time in forging a hybrid of these genres before it was common or stylish to do so. He was more than prescient: As Springsteen said upon Creedence Clearwater Revival's induction into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, "Creedence wasn't the hippest band in the world, but they were the best." Also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Grammy Award-winner, Fogerty began his work four decades ago, and thankfully, he never finished.
While his 60s contemporaries stretched into lavish musical experimentation, Fogerty wrote songs with defiant concision. Rarely has one songwriter been able to write about fun times and ominous times with equal power and clarity. Such self-confidence and panoramic awareness resulted in music that is timeless: "Proud Mary," "Fortunate Son," "Bad Moon Rising," "Who'll Stop the Rain," "Green River," "Travelin' Band," "Lodi," "Run Through the Jungle," "Centerfield," "Looking Out My Back Door" and "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" shift between head-banging escapism, subtly poetic self-reflection, and trenchant political analysis, all while remaining essentially and unrepentantly American.
But it's also universal... and for that the Muse will continue to be with Mr. Fogerty...