09/01/2009 - John has completed the recording of his next album, “No Better Than This.”|
He recorded the set at three locations during his just-finished summer tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson: the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga., Sun Studio in Memphis and the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio.
The church in Savannah, as reported here previously, was the first started by African-American in America. As David Fricke noted in his feature in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, it was a major stop for runaway salves on the Underground Railroad--across the street, John related, from a “flogging square” where slaves were publicly beaten.
John and Andy York participated in the sessions, which took two days in early July and used a single microphone. The sessions at historic Sun Studio took two days late in the month, again during off days from the tour.
At Sun, John and Andy were joined by Nashville bassist David Roe, who played with Johnny Cash, and top New York session gui Read More
08/31/2009 - I want to thank everyone who attended our shows this summer with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, and I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.|
I’ve known Willie and played with him for years, of course, and that’s always a lot of fun. But it was really special for me to spend so much time with Bob. It was like getting to be with Shakespeare every night!
And I’m so happy that my new song “Save Some Time to Dream” was so well received when we played it live. We recorded it during the tour and it will be on my next album, “No Better Than This,” when it comes out next year.
I hope to see you all again next time we hit the road.
08/20/2009 - Three years ago John was so moved by a book of photographs of the townfolk of
LaPorte, Indiana, that he gladly contributed the back-cover blurb.|
“These are real people,” he wrote. “The grace and dignity one sees in their
faces should be a source of hope for us all.”
Published in 2006, the book was simply entitled “LaPorte, Indiana,” and
contained scores of plain black-and-white portraits commemorating the small
town’s births, first communions, graduations, weddings, promotions,
anniversaries and retirements--all taken by a local photographer between 1940
and 1960. Like John, director Joe Beshenkovsky was so affected by the portraits
that he came to Indiana to make a documentary about the people themselves--and
what happened to them in the decades that followed.
The producers of “LaPorte, Indiana: A Documentary Film” anticipate screenings of
the completed film some time next year.
08/20/2009 - From the new issue of Rolling Stone magazine hitting store shelves today (The Beatles on the cover). Article features a photo by Ian Markus from the Sun Studio sessions:|
New disc recorded live in Sun Studio and other historic locations
By David Fricke
The music is as old and basic as the room: dirty-treble electric guitar; the
fast, rubbery thwack of an upright bass; brisk strumming on an acoustic guitar.
“Each day of sorrow/Just brings me closer to goodbye/And if I weren’t so
afraid/I’d lay down and die,” John Mellencamp drawls into a 1950s-vintage
microphone in one corner of Memphis’ Sun Studio.
“Each Day of Sorrow” is one of several new songs Mellencamp is recording for his
next album at Sun over two nights in late July. As he leans toward the mike,
Mellencamp lifts a boot heel, revealing an X on the floor made with two pieces
of electrical tape, now black with wear and grime. It is the spot, marked by
producer Sam Phillips half a century ago, where Elvi Read More
08/19/2009 - John has four tracks on a huge upcoming DVD box set release from Time Life in conjunction with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.|
The Sept. 11 release is entitled “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live” and comes in several configurations, including a 9 DVD collection featuring rare, one-of-a-kind performances from the induction ceremonies of the Rock Hall Of Fame, shot during the last 24 years. Each disc also features exclusive induction speeches by rock legends along with over an hour of bonus material, including rare, behind-the-scenes and rehearsal footage.
Priced at $120, this edition contains 125 performances. But there’s an even bigger version available exclusively online for $265 that also includes five DVDs from “The History of Rock n’ Roll” series, plus a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame: The First 25 Years book.
08/18/2009 - Top 10 must-have CDs by Steve Guttenberg|
What follows is a list of my favorite sounding CDs of late, in no particular order. My preference is for realistic-sounding recordings, recordings that allow the band to sound "live." And sure, I like lots of recordings that are heavily processed, but I wouldn't by any stretch use them to "test" the naturalness of a speaker.
Mellencamp digs deep - John Mellencamp, "Life Death Love And Freedom"
Another T-Bone Burnett production, with Mellencamp in a stripped-down, contemporary blues mode. Tunes alternate between sweet unplugged and rough-hewn electric grit. But it's a very vivid sound, so Mellencamp and company sound like there right there in your room.
Other titles on his list (click here to read his full thoughts on each online part 1 | Read More
08/16/2009 - By Jim Beal Jr. |
Outside the Gunter Hotel it was the same-old, same-old, just plain South Texas
In Room 414 of the downtown hotel, a singer sat in a folding chair atop a bit of
borrowed ballroom dance floor, playing an acoustic guitar and facing a single
Inside the adjoining room, 413, a tall man reclined on a king-size bed while a
couple of engineers worked with reels of tape on an Ampex recorder.
It might have been a scene from 1936, when Robert Johnson recorded what was to
become legendary blues in the Gunter. But it wasn't. It was earlier this month,
and heartland rocker John Mellencamp and two members of his band, fiddler Miriam
Sturm and guitarist Andy York, gathered around a vintage microphone laying down
songs while Grammy winning producer T-Bone Burnett, the tall man from Los
Angeles by way of Fort Worth, made suggestions now and again.
There was Perrier water in ice chests in a bathtub, laptop computers and iP Read More
08/13/2009 - Writer Jimmy Patterson's review of Lubbock The Bob Dylan Show included these thoughts on John's performance:|
Mellencamp, though, was unquestionably the high point. His volumes of midwestern angst and rebellion, and subtle lyrics that hide behind what at first sounds like anthemic odes to man and country, put him, along with Springsteen, as an obvious successor to Dylan; Mellencamp, once shed of the Johnny Cougar image and beyond his 'Jack and Diane,' days, turned into a voice for his generation, my generation. You might not always like what he has to say, but he has at least had the backbone to say it.
Click HERE to read the full show review
08/12/2009 - By Vanessa Franko|
John Mellencamp was FANTASTIC!
I had a blast. I loved Willie, I loved Mellencamp, Dylan will have to bring it.
The arrangesments were really good. They were different, too. Mellencamp opened
with "Pink Houses," which I think captured this entire evening. "Ain't that
America?" Yes it is.
T-Bone Burnett came out and did a song with them, which was awesome.
Mellencamp even asked the crowd what they wanted to hear at one point--an old
song or a new song. When the overwhelming response was for the former, he said,
"I guess we're in a nostalgic mood this evening. I'm trying to think of one that
would be right for the moment."
Then he did "Cherry Bomb" a cappella. It was just sublime.
He also did "Paper In Fire," "Crumblin' Down," "Check It Out" and "Small Town"
mixed in with some new stuff. "Scarecrow" was extremely pow Read More
08/10/2009 - By William Kerns |
Even taking into consideration the masses who were busy leaving the venue
just a few songs into Bob Dylan's headlining set - a fact that I'll explore
later - it is impossible to find much fault with the concert by Dylan, John
Mellencamp and Willie Nelson at Texas Tech's Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday
A near-sellout crowd was treated to memorable performances by icons who have
proven to be indefatigable for decades, with each taking advantage of their own
colossal bands while providing a glimpse of musical souls.
Keeping in mind that Mellencamp is the baby within this trio at age 57, there is
little more than a Farm Aid connection tying the three men together.
Thus, one might assume a potential risk in expecting fans of one musician to
equally appreciate the two others.
And yet the billing worked - perhaps because Dylan, 68, and Nelson, 76, are
linked by a shared legendary status.
That said, it was Read More
08/09/2009 - With “Life, Death, Live and Freedom,” (Hear Music) John Mellencamp is giving
his fans a snapshot of the history of his 2008 release “Life, Death, Love and
Before the tracks were released on that CD, Mellencamp road-tested the songs on
tour to thousands of fresh ears. In the midst of “Pink Houses” and “Jack and
Diane” he would mix in totally unknown songs to test the waters with the
audience. What you hear on this disc are untouched soundboard recordings from
Musically, the eight songs on “Life, Death, Live and Freedom” are introspective.
They range from the politically charged “Jena,” written about the racially
volatile Louisiana town of the same name, to “Longest Days” in which Mellencamp
revisits time spent with his late grandmother. All of the songs are stark and
organic, hitting the audience with unfamiliarity, which in turn allows them to
deliver their message untouched by publicity.
That is what this CD is about.
– Read More
08/09/2009 - Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp deliver in one-of-a-kind event at Grand Prairie's QuikTrip Park. |
Three American roots music icons during one concert event. We're talking about Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Bob Dylan onstage Friday at QuikTrip Park. The show had heft. It felt important, almost one-of-a-kind. Even in sweltering 98-degree heat, surrounded by vendors shilling beer, nachos, kettle corn and soft drinks, you knew you were witnessing three influential men that have helped pave the country, folk and rock landscapes.
The five-hour shindig, which also featured swinging, urbanized Americana ensemble The Wiyos from Brooklyn, was dubbed "The Bob Dylan Show." Sure, he was the headliner. But when you have this kind of artistic caliber among a trio of performers, there really isn't one more important than the others. In fact, a pair of couples sitting next to me immediately admitted that Nelson was the main reason they were there. Mellencamp and Dylan were bonuses, Read More