Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Termed a "Southern gothic musical," Ghost Brothers of Darkland County was scripted by novelist Stephen King with the music coming from maverick heartland rocker John Mellencamp, a collaboration a bit left-field for both artists. This set includes Mellencamp's songs interspersed with key dialogue from King's libretto, and while the story might be too complex -- essentially, it's the tale of two brothers involved in a murder/suicide whose ghosts haunt an isolated cabin and whose tragic deeds and consequent fate seems about to be repeated by their living nephews -- to be truly appreciated in single-disc form like this, so it's Mellencamp's songs, sung by the likes of Elvis ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Termed a "Southern gothic musical," Ghost Brothers of Darkland County was scripted by novelist Stephen King with the music coming from maverick heartland rocker John Mellencamp, a collaboration a bit left-field for both artists. This set includes Mellencamp's songs interspersed with key dialogue from King's libretto, and while the story might be too complex -- essentially, it's the tale of two brothers involved in a murder/suicide whose ghosts haunt an isolated cabin and whose tragic deeds and consequent fate seems about to be repeated by their living nephews -- to be truly appreciated in single-disc form like this, so it's Mellencamp's songs, sung by the likes of Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Sheryl Crow, Dave and Phil Alvin (real-life brothers whose estrangement with each other ended while working on this project), Taj Mahal, Ryan Bingham, Clyde Mulroney, Rosanne Cash, and Kris Kristofferson (Mellencamp only sings on one song here, the summing-it-up last track "Truth") that are really left to carry things. They certainly work as songs, and may well be among the best Mellencamp has ever written, while the overall sound of the whole musical suite, crafted by T-Bone Burnett, is kind of like a sparse and shined-up version of a late-period Tom Waits album, due in part to the presence of multi-instrumentalist Marc Ribot on most of the tracks, and the tight, spare rhythm section of Jay Bellerose on drums and David Piltch on bass. The performances? Elvis Costello sounds gleeful and sinful on "That's Me" (identity and fulfillment are key themes of Ghost Brothers of Darkland Country, that and history's tendency to repeat itself), Neko Case is sassy and sure on "That's Who I Am," Kris Kristofferson sounds old, wise, and weary on "How Many Days," Taj Mahal rages through "Tear This Cabin Down," and Sheryl Crow is confident and cocky on "Jukin'," while Rosanne Cash turns in a delicately worn and wise reading of "You Don't Know Me," and for a story that spans decades and generations, it's obvious that everyone is singing about who they are, who they ought to be, and who they ended up becoming. It's difficult to say how good this musical is just from the songs and pieces of dialogue presented here, but the songs have a weary, inevitable flow to them, as if fate forced them into a dark room with little light or air or chance of redemption. Redemption comes with acceptance of who one is, the songs and story here seem to say, and only then can the real truth about what has happened to anyone really be revealed. It's a ghost story, after all.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/4/2013
  • Label: Hear Music
  • UPC: 888072336827
  • Catalog Number: 33682
  • Sales rank: 42,882

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Introduction By the Zydeco Cowboy (0:46)
  2. 2 That's Me - Elvis Costello (3:14)
  3. 3 Anna and Frank Badmouthing Drake (0:30)
  4. 4 That's Who I Am - Neko Case (3:25)
  5. 5 The Ghosts Argue and Fight (0:24)
  6. 6 So Goddam Smart - Sheryl Crow (2:44)
  7. 7 Monique and Anna Meet (0:36)
  8. 8 Wrong, Wrong, Wrong About Me - Elvis Costello (3:21)
  9. 9 Frank and Drake Argue (0:45)
  10. 10 Brother Love - Ryan Bingham (2:30)
  11. 11 Monique, Frank, Drake and Anna Argue (0:36)
  12. 12 How Many Days - Kris Kristofferson (3:20)
  13. 13 The Ghosts Talk (0:17)
  14. 14 Home Again - Sheryl Crow (3:37)
  15. 15 Monique Comforts Drake (1:09)
  16. 16 You Are Blind - Ryan Bingham (3:14)
  17. 17 Joe Begins To Tell His Story (0:33)
  18. 18 Tear This Cabin Down - Taj Mahal (5:27)
  19. 19 Joe Continues His Story (0:44)
  20. 20 My Name is Joe - Clyde Mulroney (2:13)
  21. 21 Jenna Express Her Feelings (1:10)
  22. 22 Away From This World - Sheryl Crow (3:18)
  23. 23 Monique Frustrated With the Boys (0:35)
  24. 24 You Don't Know Me - Rosanne Cash (4:18)
  25. 25 Joe Continues As the Ghosts Observe (0:39)
  26. 26 And Your Days Are Gone - Sheryl Crow (4:25)
  27. 27 Jack and Andy Fight Over Jesus (0:23)
  28. 28 Jukin' - Sheryl Crow (2:17)
  29. 29 Jack and Andy Argue and Fight (1:08)
  30. 30 So Goddam Good - Sheryl Crow (3:04)
  31. 31 Joe Talks With His Younger Self (0:37)
  32. 32 What Kind of Man Am I - Sheryl Crow (4:10)
  33. 33 The Shape Sums Things Up (0:12)
  34. 34 Truth - Lily & Madeleine (3:20)
  35. 35 Joe Talks With the Bartender (1:05)
  36. 36 [CD-ROM Track]
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Stephen King Primary Artist
Taj Mahal Harp
Dave Alvin Background Vocals
Phil Alvin Background Vocals
Marc Ribot Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Guitar, Electric Guitar
Ralph Carney Clarinet
Sheryl Crow Background Vocals
T Bone Burnett Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Electric Guitar
Dane Clark Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals
David Piltch Bass
Andy York Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Background Vocals, Slide Guitar
Jay Bellerose Drums
Merrie Sloan Background Vocals
Troye Kinnett Keyboards, Background Vocals
Sophia Travis Piano
Keefus Green Keyboards
Dave Roe Bass, Background Vocals
Mike Manchic Acoustic Guitar
Janas Hoyt Westcott Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Elvis Costello Composer
T Bone Burnett Composer, Producer
Ed Cherney Engineer
Alan Licht Liner Notes
Paul Mahern Special Effects, Engineer
John Mellencamp Composer
Andy York Composer, Artist Consultant
Stephen King Composer
Gavin Lurssen Mastering
Mike Piersante Engineer
Kevin Mazur Photo Courtesy
Matt Andrews Engineer
Paul Ackling Guitar Techician
Jason Wormer Engineer
Vanessa Parr Engineer
Larissa Collins Art Direction
Patrick Fleming Underscoring
Reuben Cohen Mastering
Neal Warner Special Effects
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