More than 10 years in the making, “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County” prepares to hit stages this fall.
Erin Z. Bass
The LA Times asks an important question: What happens when John Mellencamp is crossed with Stephen King? The answer is “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” a new Southern Gothic musical that also involves T Bone Burnett and a cast of several other famous characters. Described by Burnett as “a ghost story with music,” the idea is based on a story Mellencamp was told when he purchased a vacation cabin.
The previous owner told him that the cabin was haunted by the ghosts of two brothers and the girl they both loved, who had all died horrifically there. After hearing the story, Mellencamp called up Stephen King, T. Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Matthew McConaughey, Neko Case, Rosanne Cash, Meg Ryan, Kris Kristofferson, Ryan Bingham and Taj Mahal got involved, and the rest is history. Mellencamp wrote all of the 17 songs, with different people sin
ging them and providing voiceover for the story’s characters. As of this week, the CD/DVD edition of “Ghost Brothers” is available with the dialogue, soundtrack, handwritten lyrics and a mini-documentary about the making of the musical. The music is also available on iTunes.
The official synopsis for the project goes like this: 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 40 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.