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05/04/2009 - John has been a big part of many big events, most recently the superstar-studded "We Are One" concert at the Lincoln Memorial that kicked off President Obama's inauguration festivities in January. Even then, no event was bigger musically and politically than yesterday's "The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders" show at Madison Square Garden, which celebrated Pete Seeger's 90th birthday while raising money for his Hudson River Sloop Clearwater non-profit organization (created to defend and restore the Hudson River).

The concert featured scores of music luminaries spanning Seeger's immensely influential career as a folksinger and political activist. Going back the furthest were like-minded folkies Joan Baez, Ramblin' Jack Elliott , Richie Havens, Tom Paxton and Taj Mahal, legendary singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson, and Bernice Johnson Reagon, the famed singer/organizer of the 1960s Civil Rights era and founder Read More
05/04/2009 - Sunday's star-studded "The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders" show at Madison Square Garden, which celebrated Pete Seeger's 90th birthday, has rightly received tremendous press coverage.

John was prominently featured in many of the print articles and web postings, with the Los Angeles Times quoting his remarks leading into his acoustic version of Seeger's "If I Had a Hammer" and the Chicago Tribune's site illustrating it's Associated Press coverage of the even with a big picture of John and Pete from the press room.

Click the following links (which open in a new window) to read the full stories:

Entertainment Weekly

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04/28/2009 -
BENEFIT CONCERT IN CELEBRATION OF PETE SEEGER’S 90th BIRTHDAY MAY 3rd AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

Featuring John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen Among Over 40 Artists Performing



OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: NEW YORK, March 18, 2009 —The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders, a star-studded, one night only concert event celebrating Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday, will be held on Sunday, May 3, at 7PM, at Madison Square Garden.  This once-in-a-lifetime concert event will benefit and raise awareness for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, founded by Pete Seeger, which strives to preserve and protect the Hudson River. Seeger, a legendary folk singer, political activist and avid environmentalist, has long inspired social change through his extraordinary life an Read More
04/24/2009 - It's official: John is heading out on the road this summer with Bob Dylan and fellow Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson.

Today, Dylan announced John and Willie as the all-star roster for the tour, which is being called The Bob Dylan Show Ballpark Tour since the dates announced so far are scheduled at minor league baseball stadium venues. Additional dates featuring the threesome at more standard concert venues will be announced later, and will be called simply The Bob Dylan Show.

The 22-date ballpark tour is set to begin July 2 at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Il. and conclude Aug. 15 at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Ca. It marks just the second time in the past 24 years that these three performers have shared the concert stage.

In addition to the Bob Dylan Show Ballpark Tour stops announced today, it is anticipated that several more July and August Bob Dylan Show dates, also featuring John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson, will be added to the tour in the very ne Read More
04/21/2009 - John's appearance on Sundance Channel's Spectacle: Elvis Costello With... that premiered earlier in the year repeats this week:

Wednesday, April 22 @ 9 PM ET
Thursday, April 23 @ 8 PM ET
Friday, April 24 @ 12:30 AM ET
Sunday, April 26 @ 12:40 PM ET

In Washington, D.C. during the Obama inaugural festivities, John was asked about his appearance on Elvis Costello's Sundance Channel series "Spectacle: Elvis Costello with...," which premiered on January 21, 2009.

“It was an honor and a joy to be on that show,” he said. “Elvis Costello is arguably the best songwriter of our generation, and an engaging host who showed interest in all of us. It was so interesting to me that I forgot I was on television, because I was so interested in what everyone had to say. Then I looked up and saw myself on the monitor and said, ‘Oh, shit!’”

Taped at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater in September, the program features Mellencamp, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristof Read More
04/14/2009 - Indianapolis/Bloomington radio station 92.3 WTTS--which covers John's hometown vicinity--is putting up for auction a Fender guitar signed by John to benefit its "Band Together" program.

The program, which is now in its seventh year, raises awareness and donations for local school student musicians and music programs. It has raised tens of thousands of dollars through listener generosity, and has sent over 100 kids to local band camps to learn more about music.

Visit http://www.wttsfm.com/bandtogether.htm to see and bid on the guitar. Read More
04/14/2009 - From January 17, 1983 comes this vintage clip with John and the great Mitch Ryder duetting on "B.I.G.T.I.M.E.," as performed that night on the American Music Awards show.

The song was the lead track on Ryder's 1983 comeback album "Never Kick a Sleeping Dog, which John produced at "The Shack" studio near Seymour, Indiana, in Jackson County (he was credited as "Little Bastard"-same as he was as producer of his own albums in the 1980s). John also sang backup vocals on several songs including "B.I.G.T.I.M.E." and "Come Again"; legendary 1960s English vocalist Marianne Faithful joined him in singing with Mitch on "A Thrill's A Thrill."

"Never Kick a Sleeping Dog" was released on Mellencamp's label Riva/Polygram and utilized the same location and setup that he would use to record his classic album "Uh-Huh" in July, 1983. So it is quite similar in sound to both "Uh-Huh" and "American Fool,&quo Read More
04/08/2009 - "America's Heart and Soul," Blacklight Films' 2004 documentary about ordinary Americans whose lives are really quite extraordinary, will be rereleased starting April 17th with an exclusive 10-day engagement in three test markets-Bloomington, Ind., Madison Wis., and Burlington, Vt. The main title song is John's "The World Don't Bother Me None," which he wrote exclusively for the film. Director/producer/cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg hails it as "an anthem for a new beginning."

"We reached out to John because he embodies America's grassroots," says Schwartzberg. "His music certainly resonates with hardworking Americans and epitomizes the best in the common man. The film is all about recognizing remarkable 'ordinary people'--everyone from a dairy farmer in Vermont to a bike messenger in New York City to jazz musicians in New Orleans, oil well fighters and a blind mountain climber. The real kind of heart and soul of America. In these challe Read More
04/01/2009 - Our latest installment of Out There in the Distance Somewhere.. Maybe (OTDS/M) brings a little more info on the new album we hinted at in the first OTDS/M.

So work has definitely begun on the album, which has a working title of "No Better Than This." Not only has John written 30 new songs (and he's writing more), but he and Andy York have spent a week in and out of the studio cutting demos for 20 of them.

As previously reported, John intends to record the album in old buildings like the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson recorded blues classics like "Sweet Home Chicago" and "Crossroad Blues." Many of these are turn-of-the-century hotels built to accommodate railroad passengers-and are now sadly dilapidated.

John does hope that the album, which is being produced by T Bone Burnett, will be out next January or February. He has written a song titled "No Better Than This," but is not sure whether it will mak Read More
03/31/2009 - John's first major interview of the year aired March 31st on NPR's "Fresh Air" program. The segment was entitled "John Mellencamp, The Modern Mortal."

The approximately forty minute interview-John's first substantial Q&A since the election-was conducted by "Fresh Air" Host Terry Gross. John appeared via digital line from his Belmont Mall studio and performed solo acoustic renditions of several classics, songs from his latest album "Life, Death, Love and Freedom," and a few of his favorite songs from his youth.

His performance of "Early Bird Café," which he sang at the end when Gross asked him to play a song he did not write, has already generated supportive web response, particularly from those who recognized a relatively obscure s Read More
03/30/2009 - John's first major interview of the year is scheduled to run on NPR's "Fresh Air" program Tuesday, March 31st.

The interview-John's first substantial Q&A since the election-was conducted by "Fresh Air" Host Terry Gross. It will include some solo acoustic performances from his Belmont Mall studio.

One of public radio's most popular programs, the Peabody Award winning "Fresh Air" is a weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues. It is produced at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and heard by nearly 4.5 million listeners on over more than 450 National Public Radio (NPR) stations across the country, as well as in Europe on the World Radio Network.

There is a possibility that John's interview could be pushed back to run on a different day depending on breaking news, but it is expected to air this week. We will post Read More
03/22/2009 - Over the last few years, we have all witnessed the decline of the music business, highlighted by finger-pointing and blame directed against record companies, artists, internet file sharing and any other theories for which a case could be made. We've read and heard about the "good old days" and how things used to be. People remember when music existed as an art that motivated social movements. Artists and their music flourished in back alleys, taverns and barns until, in some cases, a popular groundswell propelled it far and wide. These days, that possibility no longer seems to exist. After 35 years as an artist in the recording business, I feel somehow compelled, not inspired, to stand up for our fellow artists and tell that side of the story as I perceive it. Had the industry not been decimated by a lack of vision caused by corporate bean counters obsessed with the bottom line, musicians would have been able to stick with creating music rather than trying to market it as well.

During th Read More
03/19/2009 - Here are a few projects that John's working on. But the way things work in the real world of the music business-or any business, really--they may or may not come to pass as conceived-if at all. So you didn't read it here first!

1) The "A Ride Back Home" video: Actually, this one's almost a certainty. The clip for "A Ride Back Home" has been shot with guest vocalist Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, and will likely be viewable shortly online and hopefully at CMT and VH1. It was lensed by the same team that did the "Rain on the Scarecrow" video-including director Jamie Andrews-and has the same style and feel.

2) Summer Tour: A special tour is in the works, slated to start in early July and run through the end of August. It will play at minor league baseball fields, with John sharing top billing with two other major artists.

3) New Album: During the tour, John hopes to cut a new album, "as American folk as I've ever be Read More
03/17/2009 -


Woodrow (Woody) Baker died Tuesday at his home in Elnora, Indiana. He was 94.

Baker was a Navy veteran of World War II, a member of the V.F.W. and American Legion. He was a welder for over 50 years.

He was also the working man sitting next to a much younger John Mellencamp at the Midway Tavern in Elnora on the cover of his 1987 album "The Lonesome Jubilee."

"He was proud of it. He bragged about it," his son--who's also known as Woody-told the Bloomington Herald. "It was a pretty amazing thing. I still have younger guys, co-workers, come up to me and say, 'Isn't that your dad on the cover of 'The Lonesome Jubilee'? They just can't believe it. It's just something that has never gone away."

According to the Herald, the bartender was asked if he knew an older, working Read More
03/13/2009 - The death last week of Jimmy Boyd has brought renewed attention to his signature hit “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” which John covered for the first volume of the “A Very Special Christmas” compilations. The set, which came out in 1989, featured a spirited Cajun-flavored take on the classic tune, which Boyd took to the top of the Billboard charts in 1952.

Turns out the song was commissioned by the Neiman Marcus department store chain to promote its annual Christmas card. Boyd’s hit, which the New York Times said he recorded when “he was a skinny, red-headed kid of 12,” was banned by the Roman Catholic Church in Boston, its claim being that it mixed sex with Christmas. Boyd was apparently widely photographed meeting with the Archdiocese to explain the song! The ban was subsequently lifted the following Christmas, when the recording again topped the charts. It has since sold over 60 million copies; to commemorate the first three million, Columbia Records gave Boyd, who lov Read More
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