"Ghost Brothers of Darkland Country" é un capolavoro multimediale: basandosi su testi di Stephen King (autore del "libretto"), John Mellencamp e T-Bone Burnett hanno creato un'opera straordinaria (una vera e propria "Southern Gothic Tale"), dopo vent’anni di gestazione, con l'apporto di un cast di musicisti incredibile e stratosferico: Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Neko Case, Taj Mahal, Ryan Bingham, Will Dailey, Clyde Mulroney e Kris Kristofferson.
L'album è stato prodotto da T-Bone Burnett.
La ghost story (da brivido) è recitata – tra gli altri – da Meg Ryan.
Una vera e propria opera country-rock che è stata coronata anche dall'uscita nel 2013 di un album con lo stesso titolo (disponibile anche in Deluxe Edition, con DVD allegato).
"Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" is a musical with music and lyrics by John Mellencamp, a libretto by author Stephen King and production by T-Bone Burnett. It debuted at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2012.
A touring production began in late 2013 through the United States South and Midwest.
A soundtrack album has been released (2013) featuring numerous country, folk, and rock acts performing the songs.
The story is a Southern Gothic Tale of two brothers who hate one another and are forced by their father to spend time in a haunted cabin, where they are visited by the ghosts of dead brothers who also hated one another.
Plot.Describing the plot, Mellencamp said, "I can tell what it's not going to be like: It won't be 'Jack and Diane' meets Cujo. King has already written the story—it's very beautiful, more like The Green Mile. It's an American story about an American family. Some of the characters are 100 years old, some are 15. So that will give me the opportunity to write for each character in a different style. I ain't writing a bunch of rock songs".
In a later interview he said, "It's about two brothers; they're 19 years old or 20, maybe 18 or 21, who are very competitive and dislike each other immensely. The father takes them to the family vacation place, a cabin that the boys hadn't been to since they were kids. What has happened is that the father had two older brothers who hated each other and killed each other in that cabin There's a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house. The older [dead] brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That's all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung".
The official production synopsis reads: "In the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi in 1967, a terrible tragedy took the lives of two brothers and a beautiful young girl. During the next forty years, the events of that night became the stuff of local legend. But legend is often just another word for lie. Joe McCandless knows what really happened; he saw it all. The question is whether or not he can bring himself to tell the truth in time to save his own troubled sons, and whether the ghosts left behind by an act of violence will help him—or tear the McCandless family apart forever".
Some history. In 2005, Mellencamp said in an interview, "He's got a hundred pages of dialogue, and I've got 15 songs. We have to figure how to cut it all down. We're having our first run-through in New York with actors and actresses to see what the hell it looks like".
Mellencamp provided this update of the musical's progress to the Chicago Tribune in November 2010:
"T-Bone and I and Stephen King are working on a musical. All the music has been recorded. We had Kris Kristofferson, Neko Case, Elvis Costello, Taj Mahal, all singing different characters' roles. I wrote all the songs, 17 songs. (T-Bone) produced. It sounds like the Sgt. Pepper of Americana to me. Forget about the play, just the songs, the way these people sing them. I'm sitting there listening to it and thinking, 'Did Rosanne Cash just kill that song or what!' The play is called Ghost Brothers of Darkling County, about two brothers who hate each other. If you could imagine Tennessee Williams meets Stephen King. They're recording the dialogue now and we're putting out a record of the entire show before it comes out. Right now, Elvis Costello, Meg Ryan, Kris Kristofferson and Matthew McConaughey are doing table readings like an old radio play. So you'll get all the dialogue, all the sound effects, and all the songs sung by different people so you can follow the story. The CD will come out ahead of time. So many people are involved, it's taken a long time. But we don't have to worry about money or record companies—it's our own money we're putting into it, so we said, let's just make something beautiful."
King and Mellencamp sought a regional theater to stage the show, and decided an Atlanta location offered unique advantages. "We wanted a place that was cosmopolitan but not out of touch with country roots. Atlanta seemed like the middle of the bulls-eye", King said. "You know that song, 'If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere?' That's how I feel about Atlanta and this show".