The all-star recording of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, a southern
gothic supernatural musical from co-conspirators Stephen King, John
Mellencamp and T Bone Burnett, is now available to buy via Amazon & iTunes.
As we first announced last January, the oft-delayed project will be released in a variety of formats including a Deluxe CD/DVD collection featuring a "mini documentary" on the making of the musical. Lead track, "That's Me" by Elvis Costello, is available for streaming below.
From the Press Release: This extraordinary collaboration features
original music and lyrics plus key dialog excerpts performed by a
stellar cast of guest artists including Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash,
Sheryl Crow, Neko Case, Taj Mahal, Ryan Bingham and Kris Kristofferson,
along with actors Matthew McConaughey, Samantha Mathis and Meg Ryan.
This special release also includes the musical's complete libretto,
penned by Stephen King. A haunting tale of fraternal love, lust,
jealousy and revenge 13 years in the making, Ghost Brothers of Darkland
County will be released on June 4th, 2013.
The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County saga began when Mellencamp told
King about a cabin on his land in Indiana where two brothers had gotten
in a fight over a girl; one brother accidentally killing the other, only
to die along with the girl in a car crash a short time later. King came
up with an outline for a play in a matter of days. And then off and on,
back and forth, they began to develop it into a full-length musical.
The superb blues 'n' roots music of Ghost Brothers reflects the wide
range of styles and influences needed for a work that jumps back and
forth across decades. Rather than use the songs to propel the play's
narrative, as in a conventional musical, Mellencamp chose to make them a
way to reveal the emotions and inner workings of the characters -- like
Neko Case's exquisite, unapologetic delivery of "That's Who I Am;" the
intense passion of Kristofferson's "How Many Days;" or Costello's
cunning "That's Me," which establishes the persona of "The Shape," the
Puck-like devil figure at the heart of Ghost Brothers who floats between
the worlds of the living and the spirits. Numerous other highlights
include the thunderous, dramatic ensemble piece "Tear This Cabin Down"
and "Jukin,'" a grease-laden delta-rocker performed by Sheryl Crow.
Mellencamp himself delivers the closing "Truth," a sublime meditation on
the moral issues underpinning the action.
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be available across a variety of
formats. The (enhanced CD) Standard Edition features the complete
soundtrack, dialog excerpts and digital libretto. The (2CD/1DVD) Deluxe
Edition contains the complete soundtrack (with and without dialog),
deluxe art work, handwritten lyrics, specially printed libretto and the
"Making of Ghost Brothers" mini-documentary DVD featuring in-depth
interviews with King, Mellencamp and Burnett along with other bonus
material. Ghost Brothers of Darkland County digital editions for
tablets, smartphones and e-readers will allow users to interact in
unprecedented ways with the complete soundtrack + digital libretto, as
well as exclusive video and graphic materials.
Set in the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi, the Ghost
Brothers' story centers on two sets of brothers: the ghosts of Jack and
Andy, dead in an apparent murder/suicide, and their nephews, the living
Frank and Drake, who seem to be headed toward the same downward spiral
as their uncles. Joe, younger brother of Jack and Andy, father of Frank
and Drake, has decided it's time to reveal his own terrible secret at
the site of the tragedy, before it's too late.
Though some of the songs were written without knowing where they would
fit in the script, most were the result of specific assignments. "Steve
would call me up and go, 'We need a song like this to fill this place,'"
Mellencamp says. "To be able to go, 'OK, now you're a 10-year-old boy,
what would he say? Now you're a 19-year-old girl trying to attract the
attention of a barroom of fellas'...that was just fun to do."
Once a working show had been assembled, producer Burnett-acclaimed for
his work on such albums as Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison
Krauss and the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack-was brought in to
help unify the flow and feel of the music on stage. Burnett would also
prove crucial when it came time to cast and record the Ghost Brothers
He started with the voice of "The Shape" -- "immediately, Elvis Costello
came up," says Burnett, "who could be better playing the devil?" Rosanne
Cash struck the producer as a match for Monique, Joe's troubled wife, as
did Kris Kristofferson's unmistakable scratchy baritone to play the
As the story emerged, it became clear to the collaborators that Ghost
Brothers had taken them into unfamiliar territory -- and they liked it
that way. "John can make rock & roll records and I can write books for
the rest of our lives," says King, "but that's the safe way to do it,
and that's no way to live if you want to stay creative. We were willing
to be educated, and at our age, that's an accomplishment."
Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County
Libretto by Stephen King
Music & Lyrics by John Mellencamp
Musical Direction by T Bone Burnett
Featured cast: Kris Kristofferson, Meg Ryan,
Matthew McConaughey, Samantha Mathis, Elvis Costello
Featured musicians: Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Phil Alvin,
Kris Kristofferson, Taj Mahal, Neko Case, Dave Alvin, Rosanne
Cash, John Mellencamp
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County track listing:
That's Me - Elvis Costello
That's Who I Am - Neko Case
So Goddamn Smart - Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin, Sheryl Crow
Wrong, Wrong, Wrong About Me - Elvis Costello
Brotherly Love - Ryan Bingham and Will Dailey
How Many Days - Kris Kristofferson
You Are Blind - Ryan Bingham
Home Again - Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin, Taj Mahal
What's Going On Here - Rosanne Cash
My Name Is Joe - Clyde Mulroney
Tear This Cabin Down - Taj Mahal
And Your Days Are Gone - Sheryl Crow, Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin
Jukin' - Sheryl Crow
What Kind Of Man Am I - Kris Kristofferson, Phil Alvin, Sheryl Crow Dave
Alvin, Taj Mahal
So Goddamn Good - Phil Alvin, Dave Alvin, Sheryl Crow
Away From This World - Sheryl Crow
Truth - John Mellencamp