Listen Up! Neko Case – “That’s Who I Am” from Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

GhostBros_cover_5x5_rgbI haven’t seen the Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, the collaboration by horror author Stephen King and , roots-rocker John Mellencamp and Americana godfather and singer/songwriter T Bone Burnett, but if the soundtrack gives us any insight into the Southern Gothic musical it’s going to be a killer.(heh)

I already posted an Elvis Costello cut from album. Now we have a sweet cut from Neko Case. A femme fatale reels off a long list of libido-fueled plays over a shuffle. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that Neko’s character is not one of the good guys.

It’s been years since I’ve heard this country music tinged sound from Neko and I am a fan. What do you think? Leave it in the comments below.

June 4th, 2013 as the project’s new release date. Check the trailer for the soundtrack below.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County – A Gothic Americana Musical Soundtrack Forthcoming

I’m not what you would call a fan of musicals (though I do have a soft spot for The Sound of Music) but I am intrigued by the Gothic musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County CD release The result of a more than a decade long project between horror-rock master (and Americana music fan ) Stephen King and and roots/rock legend  John Mellencamp. As the musical got closer to completion they brought in singer/songwriter and producer T Bone Burnett to help flesh out the music. Burnett, who helmed the music for the Cohen Brother’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart was brought in to “… create the vibe.”

The genesis of the project was Mellencamp who in the late 1990swas inspired by his own supposedly haunted cabin in Bloomington, IN . The lore goes that in the 1930s two brothers got into a fight over a woman at the cabin, and one of them wound up accidentally dead. The surviving brother and the woman sped away in a car, but crashed into a lake a short time later and both drowned.the stuff of Gothic lore, though the absence of moonshine and firearms works against it being Southern Gothic lore.

Mellencamp interpretats the story as  “…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.” Again I emphasis the lack of moonshine and firearms!

Both King and Mellencamp welcomed to opportunity to challenge themselves. “You can just keep doing the same shit and you’ll make a living at it,” says King.

The musical oped at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, between  April 4, 2012 until May 13, 2012 and was directed by Alliance Theatre Artistic Director Susan V. Booth, with musical direction by T Bone Burnett. The cast of the upcoming production is led by Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley (Young Frankenstein, Oklahoma, Sweet and Sad) and Tony Award nominee Emily Skinner (Billy Elliot, Side Show, James Joyce’s The Dead), and includes Justin Guarini (“American Idol,” American Idiot, Women on the Verge…), blues musician and actor Jake La Botz, Lucas Kavner (Completeness, The Blue Flower), Kate Ferber (One Child Born: the Music of Laura Nyro), Christopher Morgan (Gut Bucket Blues) and country musician Dale Watson.

Variety reviewed the show harshly, stating ” By the end of the show, you may yearning for “Carrie.” Ouch.

Though music created for a theatrical setting has it’s own flavor there’s no denying the pedigree of Americana music talent involved CD release. But judging by the Elvis Costello cut  “That’s Me,” sung not by Costello but by a member of the cast, I think this could be a great idea that misses the mark.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be available as Standard Edition CD featureing  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. Digital editions for tablets, smartphones and e-readers will allow users to interact with the soundtrack + digital libretto, as well as exclusive video and graphic materials.

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

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County track listing:

That’s Me  – Elvis Costello (listen at bottom of post)
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

http://soundcloud.com/fantasylabelgroup/thats-me-elvis-costello

 

 

Stephen King’s – Spooky Americana Fan

CMT reports that spooky author and member of the Rock Bottom Remainders band Stephen King has included new albums by Steve Earle and Lyle Lovett on his year-end list of favorite music, published in the Dec. 7 issue of Entertainment Weekly. Earle’s Washington Square Serenade topped the list, followed by Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band’s It’s Not Big It’s Large, John Fogerty’s Revival and Southern Culture on the Skids’ Countrypolitan Favorites.

Ryan Adams in the New York Times

The New York Times has a nice piece on Ryan Adams, his ending contract and sometimes tumultuous relationship with Lost Highway records, getting back with his old manager, John Silva, and the road ahead. This article contains this great story when one outlaw of country meets another:

One afternoon, as Ryan Adams was recording his new album, “Easy Tiger” (Lost Highway), at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, the singer-songwriter Steve Earle dropped by to visit. Jimi Hendrix had built Electric Lady in the late 1960s, and Mr. Earle pointed out that “there are some good ghosts here.”

“Yeah,” Mr. Adams blithely responded. “There are the ghosts of about 45 speedballs from when I was recording here a year or two ago,” referring to a mixture of heroin and cocaine.

Like Earle, Adams is working on containing his demons and is producing some of the best work of his life. Horror-meister and former addict himself, Stephen King wrote the record company bio that will accompany Easy Tiger’s release on June 26. Mr. King calls it “maybe the best Ryan Adams CD ever.”

Stephen King Thinks Ryan Adams Kills

It seems Ryan Adams has a famous, and creepy, fan that might be able to match him in creative output.

Pitchfork reports that horror-meister Stephen King has penned a bio/homage (below) for Adams and a excerpt has been posted on Amazon.com for his upcoming release “Easy Tiger.”

The complete work:

It was, Ryan Adams says, this girl he’s been spending time with; the title of this album is her fault. “She wanted to go out to dinner at eight; I wanted to go right away. She said, ‘Easy, Tiger.’ And that hit me. It stuck with me to the point where I called up Neal [that would be Neal Casal, guitarist of The Cardinals] and left a message on his answering machine with those two words. ‘Don’t forget this,’ I said, ’cause I want to use it.'”

Adams laughs and adds, “I think he’s still got that message.”

And I understand that. Some things you just save, because they’re worth playing over again.

I think there are really only two kinds of pop music CDs these days. There are the ones you listen to only once or twice, maybe downloading the single good song to your iPod or computer; then there are others that grow stronger, sweeter, and more necessary each time you play them. Gold was that way; Cold Roses was that way; so was Jacksonville City Nights. I won’t say Adams is the best North American singer-songwriter since Neil Young…but I won’t say he isn’t, either. What I know is there has never been a Ryan Adams record quite as strong and together as Easy Tiger; it’s got enough blue-eyed, blue-steel soul (with the faintest country tinge) to make me think of both Marvin Gaye and the Righteous Brothers. Probably ridiculous, but true. And the songs themselves are beautiful– the lyrics tightly focused and brief, the feeling one of melancholy calm that will probably be a revelation to fans that remember the old, sometimes angry Ryan Adams.

He agrees that the tone of Easy Tiger is different– not dark, just different– and suggests in passing that it may have something to do with both sobering up and growing up (he’s 32). Then he goes on to talk about the process, which is clearly something close to his heart. “I write on a manual typewriter,” he says. “I get up, I have a cup of coffee, I sit down at the typewriter. I never spent a useless day behind a typewriter.”

I say amen to that, but he’s already going on.

“It’s like– I don’t know, sometimes it’s like chasing a pretty girl on the beach. And things I never thought I could do…I can do.”

I mention how prolific he is, aware that I might be touching a sore point. After all, there are plenty of critics who seem to think that’s a bad thing. Adams, however, just laughs.

“Yeah, yeah, in America people give you shit for working hard,” he says. “But…it’s process, that’s all. I process things. I went into the dream business. If people need ’em, I’ve got extra.”

He talks enthusiastically about all the unreleased material he hopes to set free in a box set, maybe at the end of the year (“If people hear it all, then they’ll get the connections,” he says), but that’s then. Now there’s this, maybe the best Ryan Adams CD ever. And I know you want to listen to it right away. But slow down. Take your time. This album asks for that, and it will reward your full attention.

In other words– easy, Tiger.

–Stephen King