Farm Aid co-founder and board artist John Mellencamp is having an incredible year. He just completed an extensive 77-date “Live and In Person 2023” North American tour and his twenty fifth studio album, Orpheus Descending, which is out now on Republic Records.
Orpheus Descending was produced by Mellencamp and recorded at his own Belmont Mall Studio. One of his most personal records to date, standout tracks “Hey God” and “The Eyes of Portland” focus on social issues Mellencamp continues to passionately advocate for.
The tour received rave reviews, with LA Weekly praising, “Mellencamp strode out looking for all the world like a Brando or a Paul Newman or a James Dean—a Misfit who managed to find his place in the world through his music,” while the Dallas Observer describes that the show “made it clear Mellencamp is a true music legend, and from the sound of it, one that will continue to be making music for a long time to come.”
He has been performing songs from the new LP during his live set. The Chicago Tribune says “Awash in death, ‘Hey God’ functioned as a plea for deliverance from senseless gun violence. Preceded by a story about his encounter with a 20-something homeless woman, the solo acoustic ‘The Eyes of Portland’ took aim at the empty ‘thoughts and prayers’ condolences offered as a solution to major tragedies and dilemmas.”
Mellencamp is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, ASCAP Foundation’s Champion Award, The Woody Guthrie Award and Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and more recently, the Founders Award, the top honor assigned by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
He recently released a deluxe edition reissue of his beloved seminal album, Scarecrow, which features a massive collection of bonus tracks, rarities and more never previously shared before. His critically acclaimed studio LP, Strictly A One-Eyed Jack, was released early last year to praise from The New York Times, NPR Music, Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and more.
In addition, Mellencamp has continued to focus on another facet of his artistic expression: painting. Last year, he released a self-curated book of his work, John Mellencamp: Paintings and Assemblages.