Out Today: John Mellencamp

by

comment

playback-john-mellencamp.jpg

John Mellencamp
No Better Than This
(Rounder)

No Better Than This is steeped in musical history. Mellencamp and producer T Bone Burnett recorded the album at landmark places around the country: in a Baptist church in Georgia, in Memphis’ famous studios, and in San Antonio’s Gunter Hotel, where bluesman Robert Johnson’s held his first recording session. Stripped-down songs like “Right Behind Me” (based on Johnson’s hellhound-on-my-tail theme) and “Thinking About You” (a ballad about being in love) sound like they come from another era, and it’s a sound that fits Mellencamp’s husky voice and straightforward guitar playing. (Maybe Mellencamp, who’s spent the past couple of summers on the road with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, was inspired by his tourmates’ no-frills approach to record-making.) There’s a real sense of joy to No Better Than This, but somber cuts like “Save Some Time to Dream” and “No One Cares About Me” also reveal some deep digging by Mellencamp. —Jeff Niesel

Follow us on Twitter: @clescenemusic

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.