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10/05/2009 - By Annie Zaleski in Farm Aid, Show ReviewsMon., Oct. 5 2009 @ 1:34PM

John Mellencamp and his crack band may have stolen the show at Farm Aid. The Seymour, Indiana, native opened his nine-song set with slower versions of "Pink Houses" and "Paper in Fire." The youthful intensity Mellencamp exuded when he called himself Johnny Cougar has smoldered into a slower-burning passion, as exemplified in the latter song during the chorus. Multiple members of his band lined up near the front of the stage like a marching-band squad, their voices swelling in a riotous call to arms.

That a communal spirit permeated Mellencamp's songs should be no surprise: Guitarist Mike Wanchic has been a Coug collaborator for thirty-plus years and guitarist Andy York is also a long-term band member. Their versatility was more impressive, however. Mellencamp's nicotine-stained voice cut through "If I Die Sudden," which had a shuffling, Texas honky-tonk feel, while "Troubled La Read More
10/05/2009 - John and his band warmed up a sold-out crowd yesterday with their Farm Aid 2009 set at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Mo., just outside of St. Louis.

It was a chilly, early Fall evening when they hit the stage around 7:40 Central. But the full moon shone brightly on the pumped-up Farm Aid fans when John lit into “Pink Houses” following an introduction from John’s fellow Farm Aid board member Dave Matthews, whose set with Tim Reynolds preceded John’s. Dave's short but heartfelt introduction included "he has always spoken out for the working man, and I think he is awesome, and I am a big fan of his music." A powerful version of “Paper In Fire” followed, then “Check It Out.”

After thanking his fellow Farm Aid board members (Matthews, Neil Young and Willie Nelson) for their efforts, John did an acoustic solo turn on “Save Some Time to Dream,” the new song from John’s forthcoming album “No Better Than This,” which he performed during the summer tour with Nel Read More
10/04/2009 - Artists, farmers at Farm Aid 2009 Presented by Horizon Organic call for sweeping policy change to support family farm innovation

Maryland Heights, Mo. — Farm Aid praised family farmers for their ingenuity and perseverance at its sold-out benefit concert held today at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Mo., just outside of St. Louis.

Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, joined by artists performing at Farm Aid 2009 Presented by Horizon Organic, held up the innovation and commitment of family farmers in a call for food and agriculture policies that support their efforts to realize a new vision for agriculture.

“Family farmers are the first rung of the economic ladder in this country,” said Nelson, president and founder of Farm Aid. “Against all odds, they have persevered and found ways to stay on their land, growing good food for all of us and creating strong communities. It’s time now for Read More
10/04/2009 -

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's Club Cherry Bomb’s Farm Aid Charity Auction! Fan club manager TonyB and auction coordinator SharonC presented John with a $2100.00 check. John was once again highly impressed from the support of his fan club. " You guys are great, thanks for doing this every year"

Between bidding on the items donated by Mellenheads and donations by those who didn't win, $2,100 was donated to Farm Aid at this weekend's concert! Payments and donations are still coming in and we will forward those to the Farm Aid Office in Massachusetts.

Thanks to everyone who made our 5th Annual auction such a huge success - be proud of the work your donations will help Farm Aid do! Special thanks to all of the great Mellenheads who donated items out of their personal collections! Read More
09/29/2009 - Watch the homepage or John's Twitter page to get regular updates from the Farm Aid press conference, backstage happenings, concert highlights and most of all the song-to-song set list as it happens LIVE from the show!

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09/29/2009 - Farm Aid 2009, to be held Oct. 4 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Maryland Heights (near St. Louis), Missouri, promises to be another memorable event.

The lineup, in addition to John and fellow Board Members Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Dave Matthews (with Tim Reynolds), includes: Wilco, Jason Mraz, Jamey Johnson, Gretchen Wilson, Phosphorescent, Billy Joe Shaver, Will Dailey & the Rivals, Ernie Isley & the Jam Band, Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses, The Blackwood Quartet, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, and Titty Bingo.

DIRECTV will be broadcasting the concert on The 101 Network. Just like last year, it’ll be broadcast live in HD with surround sound, beginning at 5 PM EDT and run for six hours. If you don't have DIRECTV you can catch the free webcast at Farmaid.or Read More
09/22/2009 - I’ve never been a fan of “live” albums and I know I’m not the only one. Difficult to articulate why though – I don’t think I’m so rigid that I need to hear the same song the same way with no variation every time so it’s not that and certainly, I love the whole concert experience thing even if I wasn’t actually present when they recorded. So why the aversion? Maybe it’s because the choice of songs is often less than inspiring (don’t even get me started on David Bowie’s Stage album) or the fact that some artists’ disappoint when removed from the sterility of a studio setting. It’s neither a secret nor a disrespect to note that some vocalists very clearly benefit from a bit of the – shall we say – auditory makeover that happens behind the scenes. And of course all that is fine, assumed even. But just to be clear John Mellencamp does not need help. Both his voice and his latest live offering Life Death Live and Freedom which was recorded with “no overdubs or studio enhancements of any kind Read More
09/21/2009 - In light of the much-deserved praise that has greeted Loudon Wainwright III’s new “High Wide & Lonesome—The Charlie Poole Project”—and having just seen him perform it at a one-off show in New York—I want to remind everyone that John has his own connection to the legendary Poole via “To Washington.”

Eight years of peace and prosperity
Scandal in the White House
An election is what we need
From coast-to-coast to Washington

So began the song, from John’s 2003 album “Trouble No More.” It was about the disastrous 2000 election that brought George W. Bush to the White House.

So a new man in the White House
With a familiar name
Said he had some fresh ideas
But it's worse now since he came
From Texas to Washington

As I noted in “John Mellencamp: The Concert at Walter Reed,” the song was based on Woody Guthrie’s “Baltimore to Washington," which was about a roving, down-on-his-luck-gambler. But Guthrie had pat Read More
09/18/2009 - The 5th installment of the Guitar Hero video game series includes John's "Hurts So Good" from his 1982 pop chart smash "American Fool". "Guitar Hero 5" also contains tracks 84 songs by 83 artists including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Nirvana, Kiss, the White Stripes, Coldplay, Kings of Leon, Beck and Wolfmother.

This marks the first usage of John's songs in a video game.

"Guitar Hero 5" is available for play on PlayStation 3, Xbox360, Wii and PlayStation 2 video game consoles. It is sold both as game only or game bundled with a guitar controller.

The game offers various "play modes" for up to four actual players, who can play with guitars, drums, microphone or any combination of instruments. A new "RockFest" mode allows four players locally-or up to eight players online-to test their skills in games like "Momentum," "Do-or-Die," "Perfectionist," "Elimination" and "Streakers." Read More
09/17/2009 - John’s appearance on the acclaimed Sundance Channel music TV series “Spectacle: Elvis Costello with...” is available for download now exclusively at the iTunes Store, with DVD release set for Nov. 3.

The episode with John also stars Kris Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash and Norah Jones. Unlike earlier epidodes of the series—which focused mostly on a single artist like Elton John and Smoky Robinson--it took on the nature of a Nashville “guitar pull,” where several songwriters sit around swapping songs and stories.

Ever the charming host, Costello joked that he and John could “arm-wrestle” for the role of Waylon Jennings in The Highwaymen—the country music superstar quartet made up Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings—being that Rosanne could take the part of her father and that Jones, besides her Grammy-winning pop albums, fronts a country band named after Nelson--the Little Willies. He then sparked a friendly banter with John regarding critical comments Costello mad Read More
09/03/2009 - John Mellencamp - Life Death Live Freedom - 4 stars

In 2007, John Mellencamp hit the road with a batch of new songs that eventually landed on last year's Life Death Love Freedom. This short live record is a swift kick to the gut. Proof that Mellencamp knows what he is doing by taking the music straight to the people. Don't expect rousing live versions of the hits, this is strictly from the last record, and strictly heavy duty emotion.

Click HERE to read the full article on their website. Read More
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.
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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.
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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
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