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Published on April 1st, 2015 | by Ballard Lesemann


Gallery: John Mellencamp and Carlene Carter at the PAC

Veteran Americana singer/songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp and his ensemble shit the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on March 26 as part of Mellencamp’s national “Voice of the Heartland” tour.

Special guest Carlene Carter of country royalty the Carter Family opened the show with a lively solo set of old-time gospel and country tunes, many of which tied in with the music of her late mother, June Carter Cash, and grandmother, Mother Maybelle.

Mellencamp and his bandmates — violinist Miriam Sturm, accordionist Troye Kinnett, electric guitarist Andy York, bassist John E. Gee, and drummer Dane Clark — followed Carter with a slightly formal set of new tracks from his recently released album Plain Spoken (Republic Records) and classic hits like “Small Town,” “Check it Out,” and a stripped-down version of “Jack & Diane.”

Charleston-based musician and longtime Mellencamp fan Bruce Szego touched base with Metronome CHarleston this week about his experience at the concert. “The show was very good,” he said. “I thought Carlene Cater was an excellent choice for the opening act. Her set was interesting as far as her choice of songs. She surprised me as an accomplished pianist, and her voice was strong, and on pitch all evening. She is a great entertainer.”

“Mellencamp and company were great,” he added. “The audio mix was superb. I thought the players were very tasteful, as far as the two guitarist all night. The drummer was solid, like a metronome. The only negative criticism I have is the keyboards could have been a little stronger threw the sound system. The stage setup was kind of old-school, simple — and that is a good thing. Mellencamp’s vocals were still strong, and his stage performance fine. I liked his newer material as well. I enjoyed the selection of songs all night. It was an enjoyable evening for sure! I would sum up the evening in three words: Mellencamp still rocks.”



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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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