01/12/2010 - John’s recent characterization here of his hugely ambitious “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” musical theater collaboration with Stephen King as “very complicated” has been borne out by media confusion over the nature of the project.|
In an effort to clarify, John, King and producer T Bone Burnett are finishing up the recording process for the deluxe three-CD set featuring the full text of the libretto and a recording of the music and script. The CD components involve the entire production—music and dialog—on two discs, with a single disc containing just the songs.
The set is still on track for release prior to the musical’s scheduled opening next September at Atlanta’s Alliance Theater. As has been reported, the production team has assembled a stellar cast to record the songs, including Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Neko Case, Dave and Phil Alvin. The casting of the Atlanta stage presentation is also underway.
Meanwhile, Burnett continues to Read More
01/08/2010 - Number 18. 'Life, Death, Love & Freedom' (2008) |
'Life, Love, Death and Freedom' is one of John Mellencamp's best albums…period. Its themes, lyrics and arrangements cut right through your soul. Even at fourteen-songs, Mellencamp has crafted a lean and reflective album with some of his most ingenuous and illuminating lyrics ever committed to tape. More importantly, he's found a way to properly present them thanks to the guided hand of producer T-Bone Burnett. The poignancy of his lyrics hasn't been this compelling in eons. One listen to "Longest Days" will leave you emotionally drained as his reedy voice reveals layers and elevates what is already magnificent poetry to art that is relevant to the here and now. These songs ring true to Mellencamp's ideologies and the themes in his larger body of work. T Bone Burnett's subtle production pulls you in and doesn't let go. The entire album is bursting with divine lyrics which find a common ground of redemption. There's a lot of life in these Read More
12/31/2009 - Not meaning to slight fellow honorees Robert De Niro, Mel Brooks, Dave
Brubeck and Grace Bumbry, but the concluding tribute to Bruce Springsteen at the
32nd annual Kennedy Center, shown last night on CBS, really was the showstopper.|
After Jon Stewart’s very funny and personal introduction and a heartfelt homage
from paralyzed Vietnam War veteran and Born on the Fourth Of July author Ron
Kovic, John Mellencamp commenced a round of Springsteen songs, to be followed by
Ben Harper and Jennifer Nettles (“I’m On Fire”), Melissa Etheridge (“Born To
Run”), Eddie Vedder (“My City Of Ruins”) and Sting (“The Rising,” backed by a
But where the others delivered comparably standard versions, Mellencamp started
“Born In The U.S.A.” as a folk song, backed by his acoustic guitar, minimal
electric guitar support from his guitarist Andy York, and subtle tambourine
percussion from the house band’s—and Mellencamp’s former longtime drummer--Kenny
Aronoff. After slowing it Read More
12/29/2009 - In celebration of the start of our 6th year, John Mellencamp's official fan club, ClubCherryBomb.net, and John's hometown of Seymour IN are proud to offer a one of a kind prize package. The grand prize is a personal tour of Seymour by Mayor Craig Luedeman!|
Seymour will roll out the red carpet for the grand prize winner. First, the
Mayor will present you with a copy "The Roots of an American Rocker," the new
audio CD tour of Jackson County. Produced by the Jackson County Visitors Center
the tour takes you various Mellencamp related sites in and around Seymour. The
Mayor will then personally guide you through a limo tour of Seymour and Jackson
County. You will stop for lunch at Larrison's diner downtown, site of several
scenes in John's 1992 movie Falling From Grace. In the afternoon you will visit Read More
12/28/2009 - Earlier this month, John was the first of several artists performing musical tributes to honor Bruce Springsteen at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. He was followed by Ben Harper, Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland, Melissa Etheridge, Eddie Vedder and Sting. John's contribution was a slowed-down performance of “Born in the U.S.A.” which morphed, mid-way, into a full rock version of Springsteen's anthemic signature song.|
The annual Kennedy Center Honors Gala, which recognizes artists for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts, is the highlight of the Washington cultural year. The special airs on CBS as a two-hour primetime special on Tuesday, December 29 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT).
Click HERE to learn more about John's tribute and see the list of the other honorees.
. Read More
12/19/2009 - “Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday Celebration--The Clearwater Concert” is now available in a two-DVD set. The concert, which took place at Madison Square Garden on May 3, featured over 40 major artists including John, Bruce Springsteen, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, Richie Havens, Roger McGuinn, Ani DiFranco, Taj Mahal, Ben Harper and Dave Matthews.|
Following an opening collaboration by the Native American Indian Cultural Alliance, John offered a solo acoustic guitar version of Seeger’s classic anthem of justice and brotherly love “If I Had a Hammer.” He then sang his own “A Ride Back Home,” which he claimed to have written “after listening to a bunch of Pete Seeger songs.”
“We’re all honored to be here tonight to sing this man’s songs and pay tribute to him and all the struggles he’s gone through in his life,” he told the packed arena, then added, “Without Pete’s inspiration, I don’t’ think anybody here would be a musician.” He later returned to the stage at the end of the ev Read More
12/15/2009 - It’s been a busy year for John, what with touring and numerous album projects in various stages of completion. But he did take some time out last week to give Mellencamp.com a few updates on current projects along with comments on recent news making activities:|
The Kennedy Center Honors - “I was very proud and humbled to have been able to play ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ in a different fashion--that I think was true to the feelings that Bruce had when he wrote it,” John said, regarding his slowed-down version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” that was part of the musical tribute to Springsteen at the recent Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C.
As Andy York related last week, John’s version did in fact offer more of a folk-blues take on the essential protest song nature of Springsteen’s lyric—which has been almost totally overlooked if not misunderstood due to the nature of the anthemic chorus. Stripping it down to its roots, John was thereby Read More
12/11/2009 - 4 Stars - By Anthony Kuzminski|
Once a musician attains a certain level of success the intricacy in finding the
muse isn't as effortless as it may seem. You begin to query everything you do,
spend more time writing and recording the lead single than you do the other ten
songs for the record. And if the end result does not ascertain a certain level
of success, a crisis of faith evolves. Some artists eventually realize that
trying to keep up with a rat race is a losing game and just turn inward. It's
often only when this happens that they are truly free…when they stop worrying
about pleasing share holders and suits at the big four record labels. The latter
part of the 1990's and the first part of the 2000's were a trying time for John
Mellencamp. He had a consistent string of solid records that never got the push
they deserved by the labels, but they don't hold the blame alone. During this
time, Mellencamp's shows became shorter and shorter with each tour and if one
was l Read More
12/10/2009 - The centerpiece of Sunday night’s Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. was the musical tribute to honoree Bruce Springsteen, which began with John’s slowed-down version of Springsteen’s anthemic “Born in the U.S.A.”|
“We did it as a folk-blues song the first half,” says Andy York, who played electric guitar with the house band. “John played acoustic, and halfway though he did a verse and chorus a cappella--and then counted it off and we finished it the Bruce way with the big hooks. So it ended with the full band playing with [John’s former drummer] Kenny Aronoff in the house band on drums.”
Andy says the performance sounded great.
“Bruce came up to me at the after-party and thanked me and told me to thank John,” he says. “Apparently we made a big splash.”
John had prefaced his performance with a heartfelt recollection of his first exposure to Springsteen’s music.
Recalling how he heard a new artist’s music being played in a store, Springsteen’s future Read More
12/03/2009 - Farm Aid Press Release: Farmers urge lawmakers to establish fair and competitive pricing system|
WASHINGTON — More than 100 dairy farmers from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee traveled to Washington, D.C., yesterday to meet
with congressional representatives and other officials to present solutions that
would end the worst dairy crisis to hit America’s family dairy farmers since the
Dairy farmers met with members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees,
the Senate Judiciary Committee, the House Education and Labor Committee and the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to urge immediate action to restore
fairness in the dairy pricing system, enforce anti-trust laws and ensure that
dairy farmers receive a fair price for their product and consumers have access
to quality milk. Dairy farmers also called on the USDA to quickly distribute
emergency assistance aid that was authorized by Congress and President Obama Read More
12/01/2009 - John’s recent summer tour mate Bob Dylan has got a lot of attention for
including a polka version of “Must Be Santa” on his new Christmas album—not to
mention shooting a delightful music video in support of it. Now comes word that
Cleveland’s award-winning polka bandleader Joey Tomsick has been incorporating
two of John’s songs—“Wild Nights” and “Cherry Bomb”—into his concert sets.|
“We’re a polka band, but nowadays we can’t go an entire night just playing
traditional polkas and waltzes,” says Tomsick, an accordionist whose Joey
Tomsick Orchestra just won the Band of the Year award from the Polka Hall of
Fame (he also won the Best Musician-Individual award, the Recording of the Year
award for “Polka Funhouse,” and Best New Original Polka award for that album’s
titletrack; his band also won the Band of the Year award, while bandmates Phil
Hrvatin and Hank Guzel, Jr. won Best Sideman awards).
“So we need to change gears now and then and do some contemporary pop music tha Read More
11/25/2009 - John and Karen Fairchild's video for "A Ride Back Home" from John's Life Death Love and Freedom album is on cable country video network GAC's long list for the best videos of 2009. Those receiving the most votes will appear on GAC's Top 50 Videos of 2009 Countdown. Voting runs now through Nov. 30. You can vote for your favorite video once per day. Click HERE to vote today!|
11/24/2009 - The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) today released
a list of the Top 25 most-performed holiday songs of the decade penned by its
members—and included songwriter credits along with the most popular artist
version played on radio today.|
Coming in at No. 20 is "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," which was written by
Tommie Connor and taken to the top of the charts in 1952 by the late Jimmy Boyd.
But it was John’s spirited Cajun-flavored take, which was included in the first
volume of the “A Very Special Christmas” compilations (released in 1989), that
was cited by ASCAP as the most popular artist version played on radio today.
Headlining the list, incidentally, was “Winter Wonderland” (The Eurythmics’
version is the most popular currently).
Mellencamp’s version was part of the 1987's “A Very Special Christmas” album compilation. It was cut with his Lonesome Jubilee band and was accompanied by a video featuring his then ver Read More
11/23/2009 - The fourth volume of live performances recorded at Neil and Pegi Young’s
annual non-profit Bridge School Concert was just released digitally at iTunes. The 22-track set includes John’s performance of “Jackie
Brown,” which was recorded at the Oct. 29, 2005 Bridge School Benefit.|
The concerts benefit the unique Bridge School learning complex in Hillsborough,
Cal., which assists children with severe physical impairments and challenging
communication needs. The first concert was held in 1986, and has continued each year to
host an all-star lineup.
Among the other notables on “The Bridge School Collection, Volume 4” are Josh
Groban, Trent Reznor, John Mayer, Tom Waits & Kronos Quartet, Jerry Lee Lewis,
Ministry, My Morning Jacket, Norah Jones, Tegan & Sara, Death Cab for Cutie and
Band of Horses. Proceeds from the iTunes downloads will once again be donated to
This is the second time that John has been featured on a Bridge School
compilation. Read More
11/15/2009 - By Jane Ammeson - Times Correspondent|
The "Small Town" that John Mellencamp immortalized in his 1985 hit song
wasn't just an imagined Mayberry sort of place. Mellencamp, the rock singer and
songwriter known for his heartland ballads, was writing about Seymour, Ind. , a
town of about 20,000 just an hour south of Indianapolis.
There have been Mellencamps in Jackson County since the 1850s when a German
immigrant, Johann Herman Möhlenkamp, settled in a nearby county.
Now an audio driving tour CD, "The Roots of an American Rocker," lets travelers
listen to John Mellencamp's lyrics while visiting places important to him when
he was growing up.
The folksy reminiscences include those from a woman he dated during his freshman
year of high school. She recalls how Mellencamp tried to win her back by playing
"Working My Way Back to You" on the telephone.
Though their romance didn't work out, Mellencamp later wrote a s Read More