John Cougar Mellencamp is loved in Savannah because he loves Savannah too!
Interestingly I just found out today from Rev. Cynthia that he has done a PSA for WHD on 10-10-10 – how coincidental!
We are working hard to put together an event for that day & partner with other agencies, individuals, organizations, government entities & maybe even the CVB (better known these days as Visit Savannah).
Watch the PSA here with us – hope it motivates you to participate in the events, help sponsor them or partner with us to get our event rolling!
Some background on the writing & recording of the song & album:
No Better Than This was recorded over the course of a few break days afforded Mellencamp when he was on a tour of minor league ball parks last year, sharing the bill with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. The album was recorded on vintage equipment – a 55 year-old Ampex tape recorder with just one microphone — in Savannah at the First African Baptist Church, in Memphis at Sun Studios and in San Antonio in room 414 of the Gunter Hotel.
Mellencamp wrote the thirteen songs included on the album during a thirteen-day span last spring. “I was tightly focused,” he related, “I got up every day and wrote and wrote and wrote.” The songs reflect various American traditions including blues, folk, western, gospel, rockabilly and country and address such themes as the need for hope, the nature of relationship and narratives that recount extraordinary occurrences in everyday life.
As far as the recording locations are concerned, they were chosen based on cultural and music history, each providing a sense of place for the respective sessions. About the experience, Mellencamp remarked, “It was absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had making a record in my life. It was about making music – organic music made by real musicians – that’s heartfelt and written from the best place it can come from.”
The First African Baptist Church is the first Black church in North America dating to pre-revolutionary times. The original congregation and ministry were slaves; the church, in fact, provided sanctuary to runaways before emancipation. Mellencamp, who has a residence in the area, has long been familiar with the church and the role it played in the Savannah community. He and his wife Elaine were baptized there before the sessions commenced.
Quotes from story on WOMC radio’s website in Detriot: