What does it sound like?:
John Mellencamp: musician, songwriter, actor, artist, social activist and storyteller. Over the long stretch of his career he’s come up with some great songs, and yet hasn’t received the same attention as, say, Bruce Springsteen. This concert, captured on this CD and DVD combo, touches on those musical high spots, but combines this with a spoken narrative during which Mellencamp reminisces about his childhood, the trials and tribulations, not to mention the many triumphs of his career, together with his philosophy and outlook on life. Some of the anecdotes, especially about growing up in the Mid West, are fascinating, but it’s rather frustrating at times that just as a song gets going, the sound is muted for a voice over section. The producers obviously twigged this too, as the DVD has a ‘non-commentary’ option, allowing just the concert itself to be viewed, with the soundtrack being duplicated on the CD as well. As for the music, there’s a fantastic career spanning selection going back as far as 1985’s superb Scarecrow album, drawing in a handful from one of my favourite albums, 1987’s The Lonesome Jubilee, and coming up to date with last year’s Sad Clowns and Hillbillies. Small Town, Rain On The Scarecrow, Pink Houses, Check It Out, Cherry Bomb, Paper In Fire – one classic follows another, and there’s even a guest appearance from Carlene Carter thrown in for good measure. Very enjoyable – watch it twice though, once for Mellencamp’s commentary and once more when the music does his talking for him.
What does it all *mean*?
I’d rather lost track of Mellencamp’s work over the past few years, but this has inspired me to investigate his later albums, and of course to dig out his older stuff for another listen. Does anyone capture life in the American heartland better?
Goes well with…
Appreciating some artists just get better with age.
Might suit people who like…