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08/03/2009 - By Mojo Flucke

Sometimes it’s hard to reach into the dark, dank, spiderweb-glazed swamp of memory and grab something from 20 years ago, but this much I remember: In the 1970s through the early 1990s a few select artists like Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Def Leppard, Madonna, Metallica, and yes, Journey, could inspire such rabid devotion in rock fans that they’d flock to stores holding special midnight openings to sell a new record the first minute it was allowed.

Today, the music-biz is so fragmented, rock radio is so weakened, and leaked MP3s/digital streams make the concept of a “formal record release” a notion antiquated as the corset — or at least Valley Girl talk. People buy CDs not for the tactile experience but as a backup hardcopy. Hard to imagine staying up for a midnight record-release party for that.

While Popdose commenters might have their own recollections of when this particular Event-with-a-capital-E stuff died, my official day is March 31, 1992, the day Bruc Read More
08/02/2009 - By Joseph Taylor
Musical Performance-4 out of 5 Stars
Sound Quality-4 out of 5 Stars
Overall Enjoyment-4 out of 5 Stars

John Mellencamp's Life Death Love and Freedom was a career-defining record from a songwriter and singer whose shrewd commercial instincts seem to have kept him from having the hip "Americana" tag hung on him. But with producer T. Bone Burnett's help, Life Death Love and Freedom brought Mellencamp's talents into their greatest focus since 1993's Human Wheels, and the result was a triumph. Best of all, the disc, which was full of warmth and atmosphere, sounded terrific. If the drums on "My Sweet Love" were mixed a little forward, it was a conscious effort to create the right feel for the song, and it worked.

While Burnett helped frame Mellencamp's songs, it was the songs themselves that showed the singer's renewed purpose and talent. By the time the album was released in 2008, Mellencamp had alre Read More
08/02/2009 - By Jim Bessman - Sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll? What about cycling?

Key players in the Mellencamp and Nelson factions of this summer’s The Bob Dylan Show with John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson concert tour of minor league baseball stadiums have formed a bicycle club as a healthy alternative to the traditional—if less healthy—means of offstage on the road entertainment.

“It’s my new drug,” says Mickey Raphael, Nelson’s longtime harmonica accompanist. “It’s a lot better than getting loaded on the road--which is what used to be protocol years ago.”

Raphael has formed an as yet unnamed riding club with tour mates Andy York and Mike Wanchic—both longtime guitarists for Mellencamp.

“We like to go out together on our days off,” Raphael says. “We just check the Internet for good places to ride or call the local bike shop because they know of places and sometimes have planned rides. It’s great exercise and a good way to explore the towns we go to.”
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08/01/2009 - By Lawrence Specker

"The Bob Dylan Show," a tour that visited The Wharf in Orange Beach on Friday night, featured a lot of music from a lot of big-name artists. But it can be broken down neatly to things that did happen and things that didn't.

The biggest thing that didn't happen: On a stormy day when fans drove through occasionally heavy rains on their way to the open-air venue, the whole affair didn't get washed out.

John Mellencamp, who played between Willie Nelson and headliner Dylan, indicated that he'd been as worried as anybody. "I looked out my window today," he told the crowd, "and I said, 'Please, God, don't let it rain.' And he didn't."

Mellencamp followed that with a self-deprecating note, conceding that the almighty probably had much higher priorities than parting the clouds for this show. But part they did, as if on cue. And if the audience could see distant flickers of lightning behind the stage th Read More
07/31/2009 - John Mellencamp isn’t wasting any time on his current tour with Bob Dylan.

During off days, he’s busy recording No Better Than This, his studio album follow-up to his acclaimed album from last year Life Death Love And Freedom (a condensed live version, Life Death Live And Freedom, came out a month ago).

But Mellencamp is using a different kind of studio to record No Better Than This, in keeping with his stated intention of making a different kind of album. In fact, the veteran singer-songwriter has called it “a complete change of style—and voice,” since he is recording his new songs in the style of classic folk blues records from the 1930s and ‘40s.

With that in mind, Mellencamp has already recorded at the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia (the oldest African-American church in North America), as well as the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis. Other historic buildings in the South will be used for future sessions, including the Gunter Hotel in Read More
07/29/2009 - "Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday Celebration from Madison Square Garden" is set to premiere in high-definition on New York PBS channel Thirteen's "Great Performances" series on Thursday, July 30 at 8 PM ET. The program will air throughout the country on local PBS stations beginning in early August - check your local listings airdate in your area, or visit Great Performances Online for additional information.

Condensed to two and a-half hours, the Seeger celebration presents highlights from the extraordinary May 3 event at New York's historic arena, where a multi-generational roster of artists, whose music has been shaped by Seeger's vision, gathered to commemorate his 90th birthday. Over 40 artists representing all genres of folk music participated, and besides John included Bruce Springsteen, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, Richie Havens, Roger McGuinn, Ani DiFranco, Taj Mahal, Ben Harper and D Read More
07/27/2009 - Visit the Mellencamp store to see new items made for the summer tour! Take a peek below and visit the store for many other designs and items. Don't forget to take advantage of our current store specials featuring free shipping and discounted bundles! members should log in to the Club website and click the store link to view prices with their member discount!

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07/27/2009 - By Mike Holtzclaw

Mellencamp, the relative youngster of the gang at 57, performed a good selection of his trademark populist anthems, backed at times by his six-piece band and playing solo on some tunes, even going a cappella on the nostalgic "Cherry Bomb." Keeping with the tone of the evening, fiddler Miriam Sturm at one point filled in between songs with a quick run through "Home on the Range."

In addition to hits like "Pink Houses" and "Small Town," Mellencamp introduced a brand-new tune, "Save Some Time to Dream," which covered some of the same ground as Dylan's "Forever Young" but directed more at an adult than at a child. As though to prove he still has some kid in him, Mellencamp closed his set with a raucous rendition of his petulantly defiant "Authority Song" (vowing that "I still feel the same way today as I did when I wrote this").

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07/26/2009 - By Jon Caramanica

LAKEWOOD, N.J. — On paper, the biggest decision the several thousand people milling about FirstEnergy Park here on Thursday evening had to make was whom to cheer loudest for: Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp or the headliner of this unusually packed concert bill, Bob Dylan. But there were far more pressing choices to be made. Jacket, poncho or trash bag. Out in the open near the stage or huddled under awnings far away. Close-toed, open-toed or, riskiest of all, barefoot.

The rain arrived here in a hard spittle long before Mr. Nelson, who opened the show, took the stage, which was erected in deep center field and the only truly dry surface in this stadium, normally home to Lakewood’s minor league baseball team, the BlueClaws. (This was probably the most profitable day of the summer at the souvenir shop, what with all the ponchos and seat covers flying out the door.)

But these three singers were imperturbable, each committed to his particula Read More
07/23/2009 - Club Cherry Bomb, the Official John Mellencamp Fan Club, is offering presale tickets to Farm Aid 2009 for PAID Club members. Our presale began on Tuesday and ends this Friday. Great tickets are still available in all price levels, including the top-priced lower pavilion seats. Be sure to JOIN TODAY or visit the TOUR page to purchase tickets. Read More
07/23/2009 - Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Mellencamp is feeling real comfy in his roll as a thinking rock and roller. Just as he did last summer in coming to Boston, Mellencamp displayed a superb band with a lot of very good songs.

He started white hot from the opening Pink Houses, with its "Ain't That America" refrain. Mellencamp always has benefitted from his backing mates being of very high quality, and this aggregation was no different. The key players were lead guitarist Andrew York, accordionist/keyboardist Troye Kinnett. and fiddler Miriam Sturm.

Mellencamp kept the pace going with songs Paper & Fire, the soulful My Aeroplane and the slower, but catchy chestnut Check It Out.

Mellencamp has a bit of a raspy voice, but he put it to good use in a set that never flagged at all. He trotted out a new song, recorded last week in Savannah, Ga. at a First Baptist Church, Saved Some Time to Dream. The message seemed a bit simple with the tag lin Read More
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 entire focus."

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
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