07/23/2009 - By: Nancy Dunham - Special to The Examiner|
Think of The Bob Dylan Show as something akin to wizened musical gunslingers
heading into town.
In the almost half-century that Dylan (age 68), and fellow headliners John
Mellencamp (age 57) and Willie Nelson (age 76) have honed their musical chops,
boy bands have come and gone -- and these three musical impresarios have faced
them all down with aplomb.
"Dylan. I love Dylan. I've always been a huge fan," 19-year-old Taylor Butts of
Fairhaven, Mass., told a critic for The Providence Journal. "I've read books on
him. Watched movies on him."
Let others scream for Justin Timberlake and Lil' Wayne -- these three headliners
with a median age of 67 are pulling in plenty of fans who weren't even alive
during their heydays.
Don't believe it? Check out some of the fan boards where postings seem more in
line with Jonas Brothers' mania than excitement over these more ma Read More
07/23/2009 - By Carrie White|
The meaning of the phrase "party like a rock star" has evolved for members of
the bands in Bob Dylan's 2009 Ballpark Tour, which brings Dylan, Willie Nelson
and John Mellencamp to Norfolk's Harbor Park on Saturday.
"Our priorities have definitely changed," Mike Wanchic, longtime guitarist and
bandleader for Mellencamp, said. "When we were young, touring was an adventure
and fun - it was all new. But now, we put the music first. The music is our
Mickey Raphael, who has been the harmonica player in Willie Nelson's band for
the past 36 years, said, "It's definitely a life for a 21-year-old, so we have
to pace ourselves!"
Nelson is 76, Dylan is 68 and Mellencamp is 57.
Wanchic, also 57, met Mellencamp in 1976 and joined his band two years later. He
said his boss is fiercely competitive. "He's called 'The Little Bastard' because
he won't compromise. He won't Read More
07/22/2009 - Jason Mraz, Wilco, Jamey Johnson and Phosphorescent to perform at Farm Aid 2009
Presented by Horizon Organic|
ST. LOUIS—Farm Aid today announced an expanded lineup that crosses genres for
its all-day music and food festival on Sunday, October 4 at the Verizon Wireless
Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Mo.
Jason Mraz, Wilco, Jamey Johnson and Phosphorescent will join Farm Aid board
members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, who will
perform with Tim Reynolds, at Farm Aid 2009 Presented by Horizon Organic.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Jason Mraz and Phosphorescent to the Farm
Aid family and having Wilco and Jamey Johnson back to Farm Aid this year,” said
Carolyn Mugar, executive director of Farm Aid. “Every year, artists and bands
donate their time to perform on the Farm Aid stage, raising funds and awareness
about the critical contributions family farmers make to our country.”
The concert event will celebrate music Read More
07/22/2009 - By Jay N. Miller -
For The Patriot Ledger|
PAWTUCKET — Fingers were crossed when 9,298 fans arrived at Pawtucket’s McCoy
Stadium for the Bob Dylan concert Tuesday night, after a day of heavy rains.
“It never rains at McCoy,” said a hopeful Michael Gwynn, Pawtucket Red Sox vice
president for sales and marketing.
That was nearly correct: Only the final two songs of Dylan’s encore were
punctuated by rain. Aside from a little mist during John Mellencamp’s set, the
crowd was able to enjoy a long night of music with no need for the slickers,
ponchos and duck boots that passed for stylish attire.
Mellencamp’s hourlong set was superb from start to finish, even if some of
his newer material shifts the mood considerably. Mellencamp wasted no time,
opening with a fiddle-charged “Pink Houses” and seguing into a seriously potent
“Paper in Fire” where his vocals sounded perfect.
Miriam Sturm’s fiddle, transposed with the guitars and accordion in Mel Read More
07/20/2009 - Posted by Mark Bialczak/The Post-Standard|
John Mellencamp wanted to know what time period the crowd wanted him to mine.
"Do you want an old song or a new song?" the roots rocker asked.
"Old" boomed back from the crowd.
"How about I play part of an old song, then a new song, then an entire old
song?" he wondered.
His show. The fans dug the partial old song, a solo version of "I Need a Lover"
that showcased Mellencamp's sturdy rock voice and acoustic guitar, just as
surely as they ate up the tight, electric band versions "Pink Houses" and "Paper
in Fire" before it and "Rain on the Scarecrow," "Crumblin' Down" and "Jack 'N
Diane" after it.
They loved turning their clocks back, back, back to those bygone,
As it turned out, Mellencamp's still got something to say.
Th Read More
07/19/2009 - By Brent Hallenbeck, Free Press Staff Writer |
ESSEX JUNCTION — It seems like just about every poetic, folky
singer-songwriter is described as “Dylanesque” — the irony being, of course,
that the one who really can’t be described as Dylanesque is Bob Dylan himself.
His elusive reputation means that you never quite know which Dylan you’re
getting in concert: acoustic or electric, wild or restrained, creatively sharp
or practically incomprehensible.
The Bob Dylan who showed up with his band Friday at the Champlain Valley
Exposition was electric, just this side of wild and mostly sharp. He concluded
five hours of music before 10,000 or so fans who also heard from fellow legends
John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson (combined age of the trio exceeding two
centuries) and the up-and-coming Americana band The Wiyos, creating one of the
most memorable nights of big-name musical fire power Vermont has ever heard.
The on-and-off drizzle Friday night was mostly on for Dylan’s s Read More
07/16/2009 - |
Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews
to headline Oct. 4 all-star concert event
ST. LOUIS—Farm Aid, alongside farmers and food buyers at the Historic Soulard
Farmer’s Market, announced today that it will bring its annual benefit concert
to St. Louis, marking the first time that the organization will stage the event
“Farm Aid has deep roots in the Midwest that reach back to our first concert in
Illinois in 1985,” said Farm Aid president Willie Nelson. “I’m looking forward
to bringing my friends together on the Farm Aid stage to celebrate family
farmers and the crucial work they do. Farmers do so much more than bring us the
good food we all want to eat. America needs family farmers to revitalize our
economy and make our country healthy.”
Farm Aid 2009 Presented by Horizon Org Read More
07/15/2009 - By John J. Moser |
Over uneven shows and albums over the years, fans and critics have given Bob
Dylan an awful lot of benefit of the doubt, and his Tuesday night show at a
sold-out Coca-Cola Park in Allentown showed why. With a career that has meant so
much to so many, even mediocre performances of his songs are meaningful, and
he's still capable of -- if not great shows -- great moments in shows.
Willie Nelson showed much the same thing, but if the ballpark show had a
designated hitter, it was John Mellencamp.
In a 95-minute concert, Dylan sang 15 songs in the grizzly growl of a blues
master, sometimes adding inflections that made it seem as if he was imparting
life lessons. In a cowboy hat, he leaned into the microphone, sometimes playful,
sometimes forceful, sometimes crooning.
He mixed classics with new songs, opening with animated singing on ''Leopard
Skin Pillbox Hat'' and ''Don't Think Twice, It's Alright,'' then offered
''Roll Read More
07/15/2009 - By John Moser |
In a ballpark, it was appropriate that John Mellancamp hit a home run tonight.
With a six-piece band, he scorched the field, kicking out of the gate with a
hard-rocking “Pink Houses,” warmed by accordion, and a dream-like and
introspective “Paper in Fire” with violin.
He did a slow burn, alone on acoustic guitar for “Don’t Need This Body,” from
his wonderful 2008 disc “Life Death Love and Freedom,” which he introduced as “a
song for my generation,” and was joined by just violin and accordian for a
wonderful “Small Town.” For that song he laughingly changed the lyrics to note
that his wife, model Elaine Irwin – a Gilbertsville native -- was 13 when he
The band returned then for a kicking, ominous “Rain on the Scarecrow.”
In all, he did three songs from “Life Death Love and Freedom” in a 12-song,
hour-long set. A grooving “Troubled Land” rocked harder than on the disc, with a
swirling organ. Also hard rocking was t Read More
07/15/2009 - By Kevin C. Johnson - POST-DISPATCH POP MUSIC CRITIC|
Farm Aid featuring Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp
will take place Oct. 4 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Farm Aid organizers
will announce today in Soulard.
This is the first time St. Louis or Missouri has hosted Farm Aid, the
longest-running benefit concert series, which has raised nearly $35 million
since its first show in Champaign, Ill., in 1985.
Matthews said he's excited about Farm Aid finally coming to St. Louis. "I really
love the city, and we have fun there," he said. "I'm glad I can bring this
celebration of a lot of things to St. Louis, as well as bring an awareness to
these unsung heroes."
Those heroes are family farmers, who struggle to remain afloat in the face of
regulation and industrial farming that they say favor profit over quality.
"St. Louis is a good location because of the history of farming there," Read More
07/15/2009 - By THOMAS KINTNER - Special to the Courant|
Bob Dylan's seemingly endless barnstorming finds him once again playing minor
league baseball parks, this time around with John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson.
The show at New Britain Stadium Wednesday was a dazzling, powerful survey of
iconic American music.
Dylan focused on his electric guitar as he warbled out "Rainy Day Women No. 12
and 35" for starters. He shifted to keyboards for the duration, from the jaunty
"The Levee's Gonna Break" to the pulsating "Trying To Get to Heaven," inserting
a ringing harmonica break into the latter.
Dylan's singing adheres to no classic notions of phrasing but is effective,
almost a sonic italicization that placed the words of "High Water (For Charlie
Patton)" in sharp relief against their musical backdrop. His voice provided a
gravelly centerpiece in "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum" as he and his five-man
band segued to a flurry o Read More
07/15/2009 - Live Daily, the music and entertainment
website, has launched a John Mellencamp signed guitar contest.
One grand prize winner will win a copy of the new live CD,
Life Death Live and Freedom, along with a Fender Squire
Telecaster guitar signed by John! Don't miss your chance to
score a copy of the new CD and a sweet piece of rock
memorabilia. Five runner-ups will win a copy of the Life Death
Live and Freedom CD. Click HERE to enter. Read More
07/15/2009 - It took an hour just to get out of the city yesterday, but we had the good
sense to leave early in the afternoon and made it to New Britain Stadium in New
Britain, Connecticut with time to spare before The Bob Dylan Show with John
Mellencamp and Willie Nelson began with a brief set by eclectic NewYork acoustic
quartet The Wiyos. They more than lived up to
their advance notice while we made full use of our catering privileges, their
version of Little Walter's classic Chicago blues staple "My Babe" standing out
Willie followed, and as Harry Sandler (John's former longtime manager who's back
on board managing this tour) noted, "he's been around 70 years and he'll be
around another 140." And why not? Willie's show doesn't change, but it's always
tops. He sounds as good as ever, plays as good as ever, satisfies as good as
ever-and that goes for his band, too. After the
set his ace harmonica player Mickey Raphael was excited about his new t Read More
07/15/2009 - By John Moser
Allentown's Coca-Cola Park has an admirer in John Mellencamp.|
After a blistering, 12-song, hour-long set in the stadium Tuesday, Mellencamp
stood outside his silver Airstream trailer in the tour bus area behind the right
field wall, unwrapping a pack of Salem cigarettes.
For how intense Mellencamp was on stage, he was mellow and quiet backstage,
enjoying Allentown's cool dusk air.
"It's really a nice place," Mellencamp said. Told he was playing the first
concert ever at the year-and-a-half-old facility, he said, "Really? I hope we
get to come back."
Of course, Mellencamp probably is biased.
His wife, former model Elaine Irwin Mellencamp, is a native of Berks County and
knows Allentown well.
Elaine Irwin Born in Gilbertsville, she attended Boyertown High School, where she
was a varsity letter winner in track and cross country before entering the
modeling industry in 1985. In a 2002 interview Read More
07/13/2009 - By Ken Tucker|
Recorded live in 2008, "Life Death Live and Freedom" is a companion piece to
John Mellencamp's acclaimed "Life Death Love and Freedom." That said, "Live"
stands on its own. The eight-song album is an honest-to-goodness testament to
Mellencamp's longevity, artistry and ability to connect with his audience. When
"Live" was being recorded, the tunes were new to the audience, which responds
enthusiastically nonetheless. "Longest Days," with its stripped-down acoustic
guitar and trademark Mellencamp growl, is raw and real. In fact, the album
wasn't overdubbed or tweaked in any way—something exceedingly rare these days
when it comes to so-called "live" sets. But we wouldn't expect any less from
Mellencamp. Other highlights include the driving "If I Die Sudden," "Troubled
Land," "Don't Need This Body" and "Young Without Lovers," which turns into a