While John Mellencamp and Bob Dylan’s collaborative tour wraps in September, Mellencamp will continue on this fall with sixteen Midwestern dates in support of No Better Than This, expected to be released next week. Unlike his immaculately produced ’80s albums, Mellencamp wrote this record quickly, on acoustic guitar, and recorded it in mono on a 55-year-old Ampex tape recorder with T. Bone Burnett. No Better is Mellencamp’s latest rootsy record in a series that began with 2003’s blues and folk covers disc Trouble No More.
Mellencamp cut the disc in a array of historic venues, including the oldest black church in America and a one-time stop on the Underground Railroad, producing an unintended spiritual chord. The stripped down album will be accompanied by an ambitious fall tour with a 30-minute “Sun Studio” set, a 30-minute acoustic set, and an hour of plugged-in tunes. Each show is proposed to being with a screening of Kurt Markus’ It’s About You, chronicling the making of the record. Mellencamp cites his inspirations for this from the early days of Gene Vincent and Buddy Holly, something that hasn’t been done in decades.
Following the stint with Dylan and before kicking off his own tour, Mellencamp will be back on stage for an October 2nd appearance at Farm Aid 25, which he co-founded in ‘85 with Willie Nelson and Neil Young. The benefit concert for American farm families will be held this year at Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI. So far there are 16 dates on his Mellencamp’s solo itinerary but the tour is expected to extend through spring 2011.