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John Mellencamp On World Cafe

John Mellencamp's new album is <em>Sad Clowns & Hillbillies</em>.<em></em>
John Mellencamp's new album is <em>Sad Clowns & Hillbillies</em>.<em></em>

John Mellencamp just released his 23rd album — and it's really good. Sad Clowns & Hillbilliesfeatures songs written by Mellencamp and singer Carlene Carter — the daughter of June Carter Cash.

For a lot of music fans, Mellencamp may always be the guy in the blue jeans — the working-class hero who wrote "Hurts So Good," "Jack And Diane" and "Pink Houses" in the '80s. But since then, he's become a populist poet, using music to expose the dissolution of the American dream. He co-founded FarmAid with Willie Nelson and Neil Young. He's also taken no B.S. in a career that could have been filled with it, coloring outside the lines of recording contracts and the music biz in general.

In this session, we talk about a lot of that — as well as some surprising personal history, like the life-threatening condition Mellencamp was born with and miraculously survived. Hear that, plus a taste of the songs from Sad Clowns & Hillbillies, in the player above.

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