06/15/2010 - By Jim Beal Jr. |
It's been a long time since John Mellencamp hasn't done things his way. When
it came time to compile a career retrospective, the singer, songwriter,
heartland rocker, painter, advocate for the family farmer and Americana
godfather from Indiana could have hired someone to do the job. That's not the
For this four CD/fancy book package, with excellent liner notes penned by
Anthony DeCurtis, Mellencamp jumped headfirst into the archives. He selected
hits, demos, rarities, songs from a bunch of albums and a few spoken-word
pieces, including one featuring his grandmother, Laura Mellencamp. Mellencamp
then put them all together, not in chronological order, but in an order that
flows something like a live show.
With 54 tracks, lyrics and essays about each entry, On the Rural Route 7609 is a
heavy-duty, but nowhere near ponderous, look at Mellencamp as a songwriter. If
you hit the rural route with John Mellencamp, it's not a shor Read More
06/14/2010 - By Mike Leonard |
It’s a rare thing in the music world for an artist to release a four CD career
retrospective that could be called ambitious.
All too often, retrospective means rehash.
But John Mellencamp worked assiduously to avoid that with “On the Rural Route
7609,” which is set for release Tuesday and covers territory from the beginning
of his recording career in 1976 to the most recent tracks from 2009.
“I was really struck by how fresh all of this stuff sounded,” writer Anthony
DeCurtis said in a phone interview last week. “I really do think it puts a new
frame around what John has done over more than 30 years of making records.
“He’s found a voice over his last few records, and he’s gone back and I think
traced that voice through all of his earlier work,” he went on. “So the stuff is
familiar. It’s not like you hear it and say it doesn’t sound like him. But it
really is a different angle and a different take on what his music has been and
w Read More
06/14/2010 - Here are excerpts from the All Music Guide Review by Thom Jurek|
Only John Mellencamp, whose career began with a series of wrong turns, raw determination, and the audaciousness to demand he be taken seriously could create a box set as strange, representative, and labyrinthine as On the Rural Route 7609. In the era of the track, Mellencamp has issued a massive, beautifully packaged, and exhaustively annotated four-disc career retrospective that doesn't lean on his hits...
The box isn't structured chronologically, but as four free standing albums, each with its own flavor and themes...
Mellencamp reveals American darkness and violence, followed by Mellencamp's themes of personal accountability and consequence...
Musically, there are no missteps; for all its winding paths and circles within circles, On Rural Route 7609 makes its case and perhaps sets a new standard for career retrospectives. Mellencamp is undoubtedly among the best rock & roll American singer/songwriters -- on or off Read More
06/11/2010 - AntiMusic.com has posted an extensive review of John's box set written by Anthony Kuzminski.|
Here are some excerpts:
John Mellencamp has been among the best singer-songwriters the American landscape has ever produced. He appears to have found his muse and instead of chasing the tails of radio programmers, he has looked within and in 2008 created what may be possibly his greatest record, Life, Death, Love & Freedom...
Godfather to the alternative country movement and in truth, country radio today wouldn't be the same without records like The Lonesome Jubilee or Scarecrow. For every radio hit he had, there were two other songs just as remarkable on the respective records...
On the Rural Route 7609 helps pull Mellencamp's entire career into focus through interweaving themes and stories prevalent throughout Mellencamp's career...
Click Read More to read the full 2300 + word review or visit Read More
06/10/2010 - By David Browne - Article photo by Kurt Markus|
John Mellencamp admits he wasn't stoked about compiling On the Rural Route
7609, his new four-disc retrospective. "I didn't have any interest in doing a
box set - I know what happens with them," he says, "You go to the hits and you
skip the rest." But the rocker saw an opportunity to turn casual fans on to his
deep cuts - so each disc intersperses hits with lesser-known album tracks in
non-chronological order. "People will discover that I have songs besides 'Pink
Houses,'" he says. But it's not like Mellencamp, 58, is living in the past: In
August, he'll release a new album, the T Bone Burnett - produced No Better
Than This. And in 2012, he'll premiere Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,
the musical he co-wrote with Stephen King. An LP of music from the show -
featuring Elvis Costello and Rosanne Cash - is also in the can. In the meantime,
Mellencamp reflects on some key tracks from Read More
06/09/2010 - Quick Spins June 2010 - By Chris M. Junior|
If there's any doubt remaining whether John Mellencamp is one of rock’s best singer/songwriters of the past 30 years, then On the Rural Route 7609 (due June 15) should take care of that.
This four-disc set, packaged in a sturdy, photo album-sized format, features select key Mellencamp hits in their original, demo and re-recorded forms, but the focus is on album tracks, among them "Jackie Brown," one of the best songs he’s ever written. It’s great to finally hear Mellencamp’s version of "Colored Lights," which he wrote for The Blasters. Lyrics, liner notes by Anthony DeCurtis and track-by-track commentary from Mellencamp round out this unconventional (yet worthwhile) boxed set.
Click HERE to read the article on the Medleyville.us website. Read More
05/26/2010 - John appears in four one-hour “Farm Aid Presents” specials taped at Farm Aid 2009, airing on The 101 Network on DIRECTV. The specials feature highlights from the day long concert held in October outside of St. Louis, MO.|
Each one-hour episode includes a song from John's stellar set.
"Farm Aid Presents Wilco & Friends" will air on:
-6/27 @ 7 am EST
-6/29 @ 5 pm EST
-7/01 @ 7 am EST
-7/03 @ 5 am EST
"Farm Aid Presents Gretchen Wilson & Friends" will air on:
-6/22 @ 3 pm EST
-6/26 @ 12pm EST
-6/28 @ 4 pm EST
-7/03 @ 9 am EST
"Farm Aid Presents Jason Mraz & Friends" will air on:
-6/24 @ 8 am EST - 4 pm EST
-7/04 @ 711 pm EST/PT
"Farm Aid Presents Jamey Johnson & Friends" will air on:
-6/30 @ 3 pm EST
-7/03 @ 4 pm EST
05/25/2010 - The release of John's box set, On The Rural Route 7609, is a great time to show your support of John and help spread the word of his career and music.|
The best way to do that is through direct communication with your friends and family. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs offer a great way to do that.
We have several different ways below you could spread the word of the project: the interactive box set preview. YouTube preview video and promotional banners.
Interactive Box Set Preview
We have created a preview site for the box letting you hear 90 second samples of
several tracks and browse 16 pages of the book Click HERE
to check out the box set preview! While viewing, use the tool on the top left to
forward it to your friends to check out or post it on your Facebook/Twitter/MySpace
pages to help spread the word about John and his music!
05/24/2010 - A 55-year-old reel-to-reel Ampex tape recorder, a single microphone and three
historic recording sites were John Mellencamp's tools for making his new album,
"No Better Than This," which is due out Aug. 17 -- seven weeks after he releases
a retrospective box set, "On the Rural Route 7609."|
Mellencamp and producer T-Bone Burnett recorded the 13 mono, unoverdubbed tracks
for "No Better Than This" during the summer of 2009, while the Indiana Rock and
Roll Hall of Famer was on the road with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. Using
members of Mellencamp's band and guests like guitarist Marc Ribot and former
Johnny Cash upright bassist Dave Roe, they set up shop at Sun Studios in
Memphis, Room 414 of the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio -- where Robert Johnson
made his first recordings in November of 1936 -- and in the First African
Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga., the inaugural black church in America and a
stop on the underground railroad during the Civil War. Read More
05/20/2010 - |
His holiness the Dalai Lama embraces John after his performance of "Save Some Time To Dream" in Bloomington on May 13th, 2010. Photo by Kessara Dhana
John's solo acoustic performance of "Save Some Time To Dream" last Thursday at a small luncheon gathering at the Tibetan Cultural Center in Bloomington prompted the Dalai Lama to reference the song's lyrics in his informal remarks prior to taking questions from the invited attendees.
First Elaine, who accompanied the spiritual leader from the airport and is a staunch supporter of the center, thanked him for his visit to Indiana and "all his words of inspiration." She then introduced her husband simply as "a recording artist" who would sing a song in his honor.
"Save Some Time To Dream," of course, is a key cut on John's forthco Read More
05/20/2010 - The first review of On the Rural Route 7609 is out and it's a doozy. No Depression blogger Adam Sheets, an
admitted "Mellen-maniac," takes the comprehensive cut-by-cut approach in
relating the four-disc box set's entire contents.|
"I have previously written on this site about John Mellencamp and his place in
the Americana community and with On the Rural Route 7609, a box set which will
be released on June 15, the music speaks for itself," writes Sheets. "Over the
course of the set's four discs, many different sides of Mellencamp and his music
are revealed and since the box focuses on album tracks and outtakes as opposed
to hits, there are many songs here that will be new to even die-hard fans."
Noting that those desiring pop hits like "Small Town" and "Hurts So Good" "can
look elsewhere," the accommodating Read More
05/14/2010 - So maybe you've seen the photo of John and Elaine walking the streets of New York, John with a silver-knobbed walking stick in one hand, in the other a more expected, three inch stick that was burning at one end.|
So here's why they were in town:
He and Elaine greeted a dozen or so Rounder Records executives who had bused in from their Boston headquarters to listen to "No Better Than This," which Rounder will release on August 3. They gathered at The Magic Shop, a tiny Soho studio where any number of great records have been cut, mixed and/or restored, including albums by Sam Cooke, Woody Guthrie and the Rolling Stones.
It was John's first album-listening event for label brass in over a decade he said softly at the outset--something, he added not surprisingly, "I don't like to do."
But he bit the bullet--and enthralled his new marketing/promotional team with tales of the album's recording process, prior to leaving them alone to savor it via th Read More