Sad Clowns & Hillbillies

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Mit "Sad Clowns & Hillbillies" präsentiert die Rock'n'Roll- und Folk-Ikone John Mellencamp ihr mittlerweile 23. Studioalbum. Dafür arbeitete der 66-Jährige erneut mit Country-Sängerin Carlene Carter, der Tochter von June Carter, zusammen. In seienen 13 neuen Songs reflektiert Mellencamp nicht nur seine großew musikalische Bandbreite, sondern auch seine Kunst als immer noch großartiger Geschichtenerzähler und Songwriter, den sowohl persönliche als auch gesellschaftliche und politische Themen beschäftigen. Zu hören ist das in Tracks wie dem optimistischen "Grandview" (im Duett mit Martina McBride) oder "Easy Target", in dem er sich gegen den Waffenwahn in den USA wendet. Unterstützung erhielt er dabei von seiner Band, bestehend aus Andy York (Gitarre), Mike Wanchic (Gitarre), John Gunnell (Bass), Dane Clark (Schkagzeug), Miriam Sturm (Violine), Troye Kinnett (Keyboard) sowie dem Folk-Pop-Duo Lily & Madeleine.
Quelle: Plattenladentipps

Mellencamp’s new album, Sad Clowns & Hillbillies, isn’t quite as slowly paced and sparsely produced as its predecessors, but it does further the man’s late-career move toward a space that’s about as far from pop stardom as you can get. This time, veteran country artist and longtime Mellencamp touring partner Carlene Carter is a prominent contributor, writing some songs, co-writing others and singing on several.
Early on, Sad Clowns sounds like Mellencamp’s version of The Mountain, Steve Earle’s excellent 1999 bluegrass one-off recorded with the Del McCoury Band. Opening track “Mobile Blue” isn’t exactly a traditional string-band jam, but it does prominently feature the whine of a fiddle and mandolin as Mellencamp tells a typical blue-collar tale. Next up, “Battle of Angels,” does the same while following a more familiar bluegrass groove. It’s one of Sad Clowns’ strongest moments.
But just when you think Mellencamp might be retreating deeper into bygone sounds, along comes “Grandview,” an electrified blues-rocker (and duet with Martina McBride) that swaggers and smolders like something out of the man’s fertile mid-’80s period, which produced weighty hits like “Rain on the Scarecrow” and “Paper in Fire.” Mellencamp didn’t write “Grandview” all by himself (he shares the credit with his cousin, Bobby Clark), but he does inject it with a satisfying shot of gritty sincerity (and trailer lust) that ought to tickle any old Mellencamp fan’s hippocampus.
Sad Clowns & Hillbillies is a solid effort with as many peaks and valleys as southern Indiana. “Indigo Sunset Album” is a soulfully beautiful duet with Carter, highlighted by some sweet vintage organ burble. “My Soul’s Got Wings” is a guitar-driven gospel tune with a glorious singalong chorus. The Carter-led “Sugar Hill Mountain” benefits from its woozy Dixieland vibe. And the topical closer “Easy Target,” with its late-night Tom Waits feel and Black Lives Matter lyric, finds Mellencamp decrying “the war on easy targets” and “our country’s broken heart.”


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Sad Clowns & Hillbillies
Sad Clowns & Hillbillies
REP CD 616
€ 8.00

1. Mobile Blues
2. Battle Of Angelo
3. Indigo Sunset
4. What Kind Of Man Am I?
5. All Night Talk Radio
6. Sugar Hill Mountain
7. You Are Blind
8. Damascus Road
9. Early Bird Café
10. Sad Clowns
11. My Soul's Got Wings
12. Easy Target