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Country Standard Time: Dylan, Mellencamp, Nelson Score On Minor League Tour
07.23.2009 - Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Mellencamp is feeling real comfy in his roll as a thinking rock and roller. Just as he did last summer in coming to Boston, Mellencamp displayed a superb band with a lot of very good songs.

He started white hot from the opening Pink Houses, with its "Ain't That America" refrain. Mellencamp always has benefitted from his backing mates being of very high quality, and this aggregation was no different. The key players were lead guitarist Andrew York, accordionist/keyboardist Troye Kinnett. and fiddler Miriam Sturm.

Mellencamp kept the pace going with songs Paper & Fire, the soulful My Aeroplane and the slower, but catchy chestnut Check It Out.

Mellencamp has a bit of a raspy voice, but he put it to good use in a set that never flagged at all. He trotted out a new song, recorded last week in Savannah, Ga. at a First Baptist Church, Saved Some Time to Dream. The message seemed a bit simple with the tag line "because your dream might save us all," but hey in these times, the sentiment was welcome. Mellencamp appeared a bit emotional after the song concluded, stepping away from the mic for a few seconds and looking down.

Mellencamp delivered a sincerest musically and vocally, particularly with If I Die Sudden and the closing The Authority Song. "We started this back in 1975, and we wanted to be a garage band, and here we are...still playing," said Mellencamp. He said he wrote the song, which was "a little juvenile in its presentation (but) I feel the way today as I did when I wrote this song." Mellencamp and band rocked well, showing he still has the rebel in him.

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