Mellencamp film and live album will revisit ‘Good Samaritan’ pop-up shows

John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp surprised fans in 2000 by playing free afternoon shows in 10 U.S. cities. Myrna Suarez photo provided by Republic Records

John Mellencamp took his music to the streets in 2000, and an upcoming movie and live album will commemorate the tour that caught many fans off guard.

The Indiana Rock and Roll Hall of Famer announced “The Good Samaritan Tour” will arrive this spring as a documentary film and live album.

Across three weeks in August 2000, Mellencamp played pop-up shows in 10 U.S. cities. Many of the unplugged performances were presented in Downtown business districts.

“You know, (Woody) Guthrie used to go out and play for the workers in the field,” Mellencamp said during a press conference after the tour wrapped up on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus. “People don’t work in fields anymore; they work in office buildings. I felt like we were doing the same thing.”

The Bloomington show proved to be the least organic of the tour, thanks to a stage and full amplification prepared at Woodlawn Field. About 10,000 people showed up for the afternoon event on Aug. 31, but that wasn’t the largest “Good Samaritan” crowd.

On Aug. 21, an estimated audience of 15,000 showed up at Daley Plaza in Chicago.

Mellencamp said two tour highlights were Philadelphia and Cleveland. Philadelphia received a nod because Mellencamp, accordion player Mike Flynn and violin player Merritt Lear launched the tour there with zero advance notice.

Cleveland stood out because police officers stood next to the musicians in Public Square, attempting to keep the peace.

“It was the cops and the walkie-talkies,” Mellencamp said. “Photographers were hitting each other. It was stupid, but it was really fun. There was a real, immediate rock ’n’ roll vibe in Cleveland.”

Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey serves as narrator for the “Good Samaritan” documentary. McConaughey appeared in the video that accompanied Mellencamp’s “Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)” in 1996, and the actor wore a Mellencamp T-shirt onscreen in the film “A Time to Kill” that same year.

A teaser trailer for the film features Mellencamp’s rendition of “Early Bird Cafe,” a song originally recorded by the Jerry Hahn Brotherhood in 1970.

Mellencamp devoted most of the “Good Samaritan” shows to cover songs, including tunes popularized by Guthrie, Blind Willie Johnson, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Donovan and Eddie Cochran.

Turning to original compositions, Mellencamp released an excerpt of a new song titled “I Always Lie to Strangers” to preview a studio album presently in the works.

OverEasy: 12/20/20

At WTTS, Sunday mornings and evenings are laid-back. Check out OverEasy, presented by Brothers Floor Covering, from 7 – 11 AM, and 7 – 11 PM.

Brad Holtz plays singer-songwriters, mellow and acoustic tracks, and live exclusives.

This week, hear OverEasy holiday songs from John Mellencamp, The Civil Wars, Jack Johnson, and Indy’s own Jennie Devoe.

John Mellencamp Benefit Concert

92-3 WTTS gave you a chance to see John Mellencamp LIVE in a very intimate experience at the 40th anniversary celebration of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center.
For more information and to buy tickets click here.

You voted, here are the results of your favorite John Mellencamp songs…
1. Pink Houses
2. Jack and Diane
3. Ain’t Even Done With The Night
4. Minute To Memories
5. Your Life Is Now
6. Authority Song
7. I Need A Lover
8. Hurts so good
9. Pop Singer

WTTS New Music Monday: March 6, 2017

John Mellencamp

We play lots of new music throughout the day on WTTS New Music Monday, and at 7 p.m., we play an hour of ONLY new releases. This week…

  • New music off Indiana’s own John Mellencamp’s new album Sad Clowns and Hillbillies, out April 28th.
  • Lorde is back with a new single from her sophomore album Melodrama.
  • Plus, new music from Spoon’s March 19th release, Hot Thoughts.

New Music Monday is presented by Arni’s Restaurant. Meet you at Arni’s.

Arni's Restaurant Logo


John Mellencamp – “Grandview”

Lorde – “Green Light”

WTTS Top 50 Songs Of 2014

Top 50 of 2014
From TTS favorites like Coldplay, Beck, and The Black Keys to new artists like Sam SmithHozier, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones, 2014 was a memorable year in music.  Here’s our list of the Top 50 WTTS songs of 2014 based on airplay.

Happy New Year from 92-3 WTTS!

50. Bastille – “Flaws”

49. Cage The Elephant – “Cigarette Daydreams”

48. Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”

47. John Mellencamp – “Troubled Man”

46. The 1975 – “Chocolate”

45. Robert Plant – “Rainbow”

44. Jack White – “Just One Drink”

43. Wild Cub – “Thunder Clatter”

42. Knox Hamilton – “Work It Out”

41. Phantogram – “Fall In Love”

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WTTS Exclusive with Mike Wanchic

Paul Mendenhall of The WTTS Morning Show recently spoke to Mike Wanchic. Wanchic is perhaps best known as the guitarist and co-producer in John Mellencamp’s band. His involvement with Mellencamp spans over four decades and he has a number of stories to share about his experience with music. Listen to the two-part conversation below.

Part 1

Part 2