Mellencamp’s original Trouble No More album, from 2003, found him journeying through America’s musical past, paying tribute to the (mainly) blues heroes that first inspired him. Here, a month after the record had been in the shops, he plays it in its entirety at New York’s Town Hall, the set bolstered by a handful of his own compositions.
Stripped down readings of Robert Johnson (Stones In My Passway), Willie Dixon (Down In The Bottom) and Son House (Death Letter) bring a pleasing authenticity, illustrating an innate understanding of the form, while a fiery version of Lucinda Williams’ Lafayette serves as a pointer to how blues music continued to thrive.
Mellencamp’s own rugged Pink Houses fits the template perfectly, as does another non-album cut, a rustic chug along Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisted. Ultimately, though, this collection might have made more sense as a bonus disc on a reissue of the first release.