John Mellencamp's website was recently updated with information on a new album that he plans to record this summer and an update on the long rumored and overdue career spanning box set.
On the new album front:
"During the tour, John hopes to cut a new album, "as American folk as I've ever been," he says. To be produced again by T-Bone Burnett, the album will be recorded at old hotels including the famed former Statler Hilton Hotel in Downtown Dallas, where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson recorded 13 blues songs during the summer of 1937...On the box set:
"...John hopes to refocus attention on it and other such buildings within quick travel distance during his summer tour (another is the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, where Johnson recorded Sweet Home Chicago and Crossroad Blues), bringing along 1950s recording equipment to get a vintage sound to go with the setting. Additionally, the sessions will be filmed by acclaimed photographer Kurt Marcus; background footage of the surrounding areas will also be shot and mixed in with material about the music and the summer tour itself. If things go according to plan, a Sundance-quality documentary will result."
"They've been talking about this one for years, but real work is now being done on what looks to be a 4-CD set. In fact, music business A & R and Producer veteran Steve Berkowitz, who among many other things did the a&r work for the ongoing series of Bob Dylan and Miles Davis boxes has been brought on as consultant.
"According to Berkowitz, then, the box will not so much focus on the obvious hits as present a full picture of a "life-long, hall-of-fame, great artist" and his songs.
"The layout of the set at this time involves one disc of early demos; two discs of various versions of well-known songs (these may be alternate takes and mixes, early versions, acoustic versions, etc.), as well as previously unreleased songs; and a fourth disc, which Berkowitz is currently referring to as "Let Us Reconsider," to also include different versions of other material. He estimates that 65-75% of the material will be "previously unreleased" recordings."