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John Mellencamp, Stephen King And T-Bone Burnett On World Cafe

T-Bone Burnett, John Mellencamp and Stephen King are the creative team behind Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, a stage show based on a true story of small-town tragedy. (Courtesy of the artist)

Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T-Bone Burnett's collaboration on the musical Ghost Brothers of Darkland County began 13 years ago. Inspiration for the story came when Mellencamp bought a vacation cabin; he says he found out just after closing that the home was the site of the tragic death of two brothers and the girl they both loved.

With the idea that King could fully realize the horrific tale of one brother attempting to kill the other and all three kids dying, Mellencamp contacted King. Together, the pair set off into uncharted territory: a musical. Mellencamp wrote the songs to drive the story forward, while King handled the script. Later, Burnett was brought in to wrangle the music. The result was a full-on production presented in Atlanta last year, with a CD/DVD version released this week.

Burnett has "cast" the music well. Ryan Bingham, Neko Case, Rosanne Cash and others, including Elvis Costello as a devilish character called "The Shape," bring these songs to life. Learn more about the unusual and extended creative process as Stephen King, John Mellencamp and T-Bone Burnett join World Cafe.

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