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Mellencamp Honored With Guthrie Award

John Mellencamp says there is too little politics in music these days and is doing something about it, a point of activist pride that would bring a smile to the lips of one his musical heroes -- Woody Guthrie.
The memory of the legendary folk singer is bringing a smile to the Indiana rocker, who is being honored on Thursday with the Woody Guthrie Award by the Huntington's Disease Society of America.
Mellencamp, a founder of Farm Aid, the concert series that has raised over $24 million to help family farmers, was cited for his commitment to issues that exemplify Guthrie, who died from the degenerative brain disorder in 1967 at age 55.
"If in any way I followed in his footsteps, that would be something to be proud of," Mellencamp said of Guthrie, who sang about the struggles of working people and wrote folk standards such as "This Land is Your Land."
Mellencamp, who has recorded some 20 albums that included hits such as "Jack & Diane," "Pink Houses," and "Small Town," has gone back to his musical roots with his recently released "Trouble No More," an album of folk and blues covers that includes two Guthrie songs.
The tightly-wound rocker said he spent six months researching songs he could best connect with. The results are admirable, from moving versions of bluesman Robert Johnson's "Stones In My Passway," and Son House's "Death Letter," to Guthrie's "Johnny Hart," and "To Washington."
Mellencamp, who turns 52 next week, bemoaned the disappearance of activism from much of the modern music scene. "It's not encouraged. Dissent and rebellion is what rock'n'roll was founded on. The record companies back then encouraged it, wanted it, publicized it. But now they don't want no trouble." NEW YORK (Reuters)

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