John Mellencamp and Stephen King’s dramatic “roots musical,” in the works for more than a decade, will finally debut this spring. Ghost Brothers of Darkland County debuts as a theatrical presentation beginning April 4 in Atlanta; a guest star-packed studio concept album will follow on May 22, via Hear Music, in both a single disc and 3-CD deluxe edition.
Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, Taj Mahal and Neko Case are set to sing on the project, with Matthew McConaughey, Meg Ryan, former boxer Joe Frazier and Costello doing readings, as well. Both projects are produced with the input of producer T-Bone Burnett — who described the sound as “dark, foggy … and scary.”
The novelist King authored the narrative, while veteran singer-songwriter Mellencamp added music and lyrics. “It sounds like the Sgt. Pepper of Americana to me,” Mellencamp said in pre-release materials, adding that the goal was to make the recording sound something like “an old radio play” complete with dialogue and sound effects.
Other musicians who worked on the project include Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin and Will Dailey.