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08/16/2009 - By Jim Beal Jr.

Outside the Gunter Hotel it was the same-old, same-old, just plain South Texas hot.

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 microphone.

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 Read More
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 night.

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 Freedom.”

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 those shows.

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
08/09/2009 - Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Bob Dylan: Three men, three radically different perspectives on American music.

This triumvirate of talent took over center field at QuikTrip Park on Friday night, spending just over 3  1/2 hours entertaining a relaxed crowd in an atmosphere that felt more akin to a family-friendly carnival than a rock concert.

Nelson took the leadoff spot, knocking out a tight 60-minute set that followed all the familiar curves, from opener Whiskey River to the tender and terse guitar solos, as much a Nelson signature as his bandannas and drummer Paul English. In fact, it was a downright frisky performance from the Red-Headed Stranger, doubtless stemming from the fact that the setting sun bore down on Nelson and the gang for their entire time onstage, urging them hastily onward.

Next up, Mellencamp powered his way through an hourlong performance that underscored his metamorphosis from angry young man to ruminative roots-rocker in the autumn Read More


Jam Productions regrets to inform you that The Bob Dylan Show at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, AZ on Tuesday, August 11 has been cancelled. The concert will not be rescheduled.

Given the weather forecast and excessive heat predicted for Tuesday, August 11 in the Phoenix area, it has been determined that these conditions have the potential to cause a serious health risk to the public, as well as the working personnel at the venue. After careful consideration, it has been determined that this potential risk is too great for all involved.

While we understand that this will cause an inconvenience to those who purchased tickets and were looking forward to the show, the potential for serious heat-related injury resulting from extended exposure in these conditions brought us Read More
08/08/2009 - It’s nothing new for John to give fans up front a shot at singing a verse of “Hurts So Good,” but at his stop at Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field on Wednesday with The Bob Dylan Show, he gave one Texan fan the whole song.

He had revealed after the first few songs that he was “sick as a MF-er,” and while he and the band sounded as good as ever, one reporter observed that he did seem “a little more gruff than usual.” But he refused to cancel his part of the show, and after he told everyone that he had determined “I can’t do that to those people,” they were solidly behind him the rest of the way.

When it came time for the closer, he relied on Michael Carranco, a 37-year-old custodian, who was right at the front of the stage in a vintage Mellencamp “American Poet” t-shirt, who was noticeably singing along with every song. He picked the anxious fan after declaring that he needed some help from the crowd, and then sang backup for him for the song.

Interviewed l Read More
08/06/2009 - Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Bob Dylan play Whataburger Field - By Rob Boscamp

Susan Gause wasn’t surprised by the star power accompanying Bob Dylan Wednesday night at Whataburger Field.

She thinks his concert with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp is an idea that has been 20 years in the making, and has the papers to prove her point.

Gause of Houston brought an interview with Dylan from the L.A. Times to Wednesday’s show hoping she could somehow get it autographed.

In the story Dylan mentions he’d like to record with Willie.

The publication date: Aug. 5, 1984, 25 years to the day of Wednesday’s show.

“I just realized that two nights ago,” she said.

She also brought a 1987 Rolling Stone interview in which Dylan was quoted saying: “... John Cougar Mellencamp, he’ll be around longer than anybody will be.”

The chance to see these three music icons together had the crowd lined up early, even on a day when the Read More
08/05/2009 - Thousands of people flocked to the Dell Diamond on Tuesday to hear music legends Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and John Mellencamp play. The three are on tour together this summer.

Read More
08/03/2009 - By William Kerns | A-J ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Never let it be said that a person cannot juggle sports and the arts, especially during one's younger years.

Mike Wanchic is one of the great examples.

After all, Wanchic is known primarily as a good friend, career adviser, recent co-producer and, most important, lead guitarist for John Mellencamp for more than 30 years.

He also stays in shape during the current Dylan-Mellencamp-Nelson tour with a rigorous biking program each morning, mapping routes to ride with Mickey Raphael, Willie Nelson's harmonica player.

Bob Dylan, Mellencamp, Nelson and the Wiyos will perform in concert Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock.

Wanchic also played college football for his college team at DePauw University.

He explained during a recent telephone interview that his interests were split 50-50 between sports and the arts while growing up.

"My mom was deeply supportive of Read More
08/03/2009 - By Jelisa Castrodale
The July sun was at its most brutal as the crowd started filing into the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday afternoon, quickly staking out standing room in the outfield grass and spreading their blankets in the base paths.

The baseball field took a break from hosting Triple-A teams like the Buffalo Bisons or Toledo Mudhens to welcome a more formidable lineup of Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Bob Dylan. The trio has been playing one-night only gigs in minor league ballparks since early July, each with a family friendly 5:30 start time. From the ballfield settings to Nelson’s red, white and blue guitar strap to Mellencamp’s familiar “Oh, but ain’t that America” refrain, these events couldn’t be more overtly patriotic without involving apple pies and handguns.

John Mellencamp was up next and proved to be the heart of the order, both because of his spot in the middle of the lineup and because of the amount of energy he packed into his hour-long perfo Read More
08/03/2009 - John, guitarist Andy York, and Life Death Love and Freedom producer T-Bone Burnett recorded last week at Memphis' legendary Sun Studios. “I stood on the X where Elvis stood [to record],” Mellencamp said with a grin the next day during a show in Durham, NC as quoted by writer Jelisa Castrodale. He continued before playing the new cut "Save Some Time to Dream" saying, “It was the most fun I’ve ever had making a record.”

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