John Mellencamp On World Cafe : World Cafe The singer, songwriter, poet and painter is back with his 23rd album, Sad Clowns & Hillbillies. Hear a taste of the album, plus some personal stories, in this World Cafe session.
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John Mellencamp On World Cafe

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John Mellencamp On World Cafe

John Mellencamp On World Cafe

John Mellencamp On World Cafe

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John Mellencamp's new album is Sad Clowns & Hillbillies. Brad Barlet/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Brad Barlet/Courtesy of the artist

John Mellencamp's new album is Sad Clowns & Hillbillies.

Brad Barlet/Courtesy of the artist

Playlist

  • "Easy Target" (from Sad Clowns & Hillbillies)
  • "Peaceful World" (from Cuttin' Heads)
  • "Sad Clowns" (from Sad Clowns & Hillbillies)
  • "Hurts So Good" (from American Fool)

John Mellencamp just released his 23rd album — and it's really good. Sad Clowns & Hillbillies features 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.

Episode Playlist