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- Posted on Oct 9th 2007 12:30PM by Benjy Eisen
This past weekend at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco, Mellencamp joined Neko Case during T. Bone Burnett's set for a trio of tunes, including the Jena tune. He introduced the song with a disclaimer. "A songwriter's job is to report what he sees," he said. "I'm not indicting anyone; I'm just saying this is what happened down there."
Jena Mayor Murphy R. McMillan slammed the tune, the video for which is on Mellencamp's web site. "The town of Jena has for months been mischaracterized in the media and portrayed as the epicenter of hatred, racism and a place where justice is denied," he said. "However, the Mellencamp video is so inflammatory, so defamatory, that a line has been crossed and enough is enough."
A statement from Mellencamp said, "The song is not written as an indictment of the people of Jena but, rather, as a condemnation of racism."