Archive for the John Mellencamp Category

Weekend YouTube: John Mellencamp

Posted in Americana Music Awards 2010, John Mellencamp on September 4, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

The recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting is John Mellencamp.

It’s hard to believe that the Indiana farmboy who was raised in a Small Town full of Little Pink Houses has been making music for roughly 35 years now. He is one of the rare artists who has achieved mass commercial appeal and mass critical praise. His newest album No Better Than This (produced by T. Bone Burnett) is out now on Rounder Records.

Here are a few classic Mellencamp tunes…

And the title track from the new album…

10/7 Almanac Post

Posted in Alison Krauss, John Mellencamp, Kieran Kane, Radiohead on October 7, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

I seem to be suffering from a bit of a lack of inspiration this week. That makes this a good time to reach back into music history and pull out a post of various musical birthdays and other events that took place this day in history.

Today is the birthday of country/folk singer/songwriter Kieran Kane. Born in Queens, NY in 1949, Kane had music in his blood from an early age. By the time he was nine, Kane was playing drums in his older brother’s rock band. As a teenager, his attentions turned to bluegrass and folk music, and he began performing at festivals throughout the Northeast. By the late 1970’s, Kane had moved to Nashville where he found some chart success both as a solo artist and as one half of The O’Kanes with Jamie O’Hara.

Following the break up of The O’Kanes and a split from his record label, Kieran Kane formed his own label, Dead Reckoning. This is where my familiarity with Kane’s music begins. The first track here is from his debut album on his own label, 1995’s Dead Rekoning. “Dirty Little Town” is a straight country number that features some impressive guests. Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris provide backing vocals while Tammy Rogers of The Steeldrivers saws the fiddle.

The second track here is from one of Kane’s recent collaborations with Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplan. The trio has released three stripped down acoustic folk albums on Compass Records. I’m offering up a tune called “Postcard from Mexico” from the 2006 album Lost John Dean.

Kieran Kane: Dirty Little Town (Buy Album)
Kane, Welch, Kaplan: Postcard from Mexico (Buy Album)

Today is also the birthday of singer/songwriter/truck salesman John Mellencamp. Mellencamp was born in 1951 in Seymour, IN. Of course, you probably know the story of this Heartland rocker, but did you know that he recently released another studio album called Life, Death, Love and Freedom?

The new album is produced by T-Bone Burnett, and it’s fairly safe to say none of these songs will appear in a truck commercial any time soon. These are bare boned ruminations on… what else… life, death, love, and freedom just as the title states. Death, particularly, takes center stage on this record. Mellencamp survived a heart attack recently and seems to have the topic of his own mortality weighing heavily on his mind. Overall a solid effort.

John Mellencamp: If I Die Sudden (Buy Album)
John Mellencamp: Don’t Need This Body (Buy Album)

Finally, we wish a Happy Birthday to Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Yorke was born in Wellingborough, England in 1968.

Radiohead was one of my favorite bands of the 1990’s, and a group that I still follow closely. You have to follow them closely because you never know where they are going to go next. To attempt to define their sound would be folly because it grows and evolves so much from record to record that by the time you’ve finished writing one definition, they’re already off on something else.

To illustrate… I’ll start with one track from their 1993 debut album Pablo Honey. “Anyone Can Play Guitar” is fairly straightforward 90’s alt-rock. The band’s triple-guitar attack soars while Yorke wails away about the burning of London and his aspirations of becoming Jim Morrison. Their sound would grow a bit on the two following albums The Bends and O.K. Computer, but the three guitars would remain a staple of those albums.

In 2000, however, Radiohead released Kid A, a highly experimental album that mixed electronica and rock into an atmospheric haze that was a complete departure from their previous work. That experimentation has continued to be present in their sound and has helped propel them into becoming one of (if not the) biggest bands in the world. Here’s one called “The National Anthem” from Kid A, and another called “Backdrifts” from 2003’s Hail to the Thief.

Radiohead: Anyone Can Play Guitar (Buy Album)
Radiohead: The National Anthem (Buy Album)
Radiohead: Backdrifts (Buy Album)

On a personal note…

Today is also my second wedding anniversary. This is the first song my wife and I danced to two years ago.

Alison Krauss & Union Station: Looking in the Eyes of Love (Buy Album)