As his fantastic 2009 Farm Aid set proved, veteran rocker John Mellencamp hasn't mellowed with age. If anything, his heartland fire has cooled into a smoky, reflective slow burn. That's evident on this year's No Better Than This, a T Bone Burnett-produced collection influenced by folk, gospel and the blues. Authenticity is a hallmark of the album; Mellencamp recorded the album in mono, using just one microphone and a '50s-era Ampex portable recording device. The LP's back-story is just as integral to the experience: A documentary called It's About You — which follows the Coug's 2009 summer tour and Better's recording sessions from the perspective of photographer Kurt Markus — is being shown every night of this tour. After the film, Mellencamp fans can expect a long night of music, including two acoustic sets (one solo, one with a band) and a plugged-in performance.
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