http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/john-mellencamp-performs-trouble-no-more-live-at-town-hall-1405614775.jpg Performs Trouble No More At Town Hall

John Mellencamp

Performs Trouble No More At Town Hall

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5 3.5 0
July 17, 2014

The war in Iraq was just weeks old when John Mellencamp released 2003's Trouble No More, a collection of blues and folk covers that proved the protest song is just about as old as music itself. This excellent live album documents a show from that year at New York's Town Hall, featuring a complete performance of the album plus a few old favorites – like a radically slowed-down "Small Town," a barn-burning "Paper In Fire" and the inevitable finale of "Pink Houses." Just 11 years later, the concert already feels like a time capsule of a bygone era. A cover of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" references Donald Rumsfeld, while the traditional folk tune "To Washington" takes a swipe at Bush the younger: "He wants to fight with many/And he says it's not for oil." If that sounds tame now, remember that this was a time when the Dixie Chicks were being hung in effigy. And while the timing of this release may seem a little random, it's a nice reminder of how Mellencamp's music has evolved now that he's no longer trying to score pop hits. 

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