Just announced this week is the John Mellencamp Sad Clowns & Hillbillies 2017 Summer Tour, with 22 U.S. dates in June and July, then 5 more Fair shows in August and September! This comes not long after the highly successful 2-year Plain Spoken tour with Carlene as Special Guest on all shows. The new tour will follow the April release of the new John Mellencamp CD featuring Carlene Carter (on Republic Records) which Katie Couric recently asked him about:
KATIE COURIC: "You just wrapped up a tour with Carlene Carter - cool - the daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith, stepdaughter of Johnny Cash. Now you have a new album that's coming out later this spring, called Sad Clowns and Hillbillies. You excited about that?"
JOHN MELLENCAMP: "Yeah, Carlene and I, we met, Stephen King and I were doing a musical (Ghost Brothers of Darkland County), and Carlene had a small part in it. It was traveling around the United States, and Carlene and I got to be friends, from me showing up periodically to watch the musical. Then I was doing something for Meg Ryan - she made a little movie (Ithaca) and she directed it, and I did the music for it, and I needed somebody to sing with kind of a twang ("Sugar Hill Mountain"). So I thought Carlene would be perfect for that. So I called Carlene and then Carlene started going on the road with me. Carlene and I became singing buddies, so we decided to make this record together. It’s crazy the way it started. It was going to be a religious record. It started out as like, ‘Look, let’s go back and do an old country religious record. We’ll try to write songs that sound like those songs, but they’ll be new.’ And then it just kept evolving and evolving and evolving. The songs she was bringing and the songs I was bringing, they weren’t so religious [laughs]. I write a lot of sad songs. So Sad Clowns and Hillbillies - that’s where it came from."
And from Carlene's interview with the Columbia Daily Tribune last fall: "He (John Mellencamp) is part of the soundtrack to my life, like he is to a lot of people," she said, sharing her memories of dancing to his hits and singing them loudly while driving in her convertible decades ago. The pair have traveled extensively together since. Carter opens the show for Mellencamp and, at some point in the set, they do a few songs together. They have become quite natural singing partners. "I don’t have a hard time figuring out where he’s going to go; it’s like I already know where he’s going," Carter said. Carter and Mellencamp have more in common than musical sensibility. Both have lived and made work with a similar sense of purpose and stubbornness. "We both have been uncompromised artists. I think we have that in common, almost like little rebels," she said.
Fans at the last leg of the Plain Spoken tour got to hear the duo sing two of their collaborations from the forthcoming album: the beautiful ballad "Indigo Sunset"; and the up-tempo gospel "My Soul’s Got Wings" with Mr. Mellencamp's music for lyrics by one of his heroes, Woody Guthrie. (In the unbroken musical circle, Mr. Guthrie adapted the melody to his most famous song, "This Land is Your Land," from a song recorded by The Carter Family.)
The Sad Clowns & Hillbillies tour starts June 5 in Colorado, and along with Mr. Mellencamp and Carlene will include Very Special Guest Emmylou Harris and Indianapolis folk-pop sister duo Lily & Madeleine. Emmylou of course is a long-time friend of Carlene, and was the first to record "Easy From Now On" which Carlene wrote with the late Susanna Clark back in 1977. Substituting for Emmylou at the 2 Oregon dates (June 10 and 11) will be singer-songwriter Jewel (who played Carlene's mother June Carter Cash in the 2013 Lifetime Television movie "Ring of Fire"). The 5 Fair dates in August and September will include just Mr. Mellencamp and Carlene. All of the info as always is on Carlene's Calendar.
Tickets for the tour will be available to the general public beginning Friday, February 24 at 10 am. Mellencamp.com and VIP pre-sale tickets will be available beginning Wednesday, February 22 at 10 am until Thursday, February 23 at 10 pm. Every online ticket comes with 1 physical CD of the Sad Clowns & Hillbillies album.
JOHN MELLENCAMP SAD CLOWNS & HILLBILLIES 2017 SUMMER TOUR DATES
June 05 - Greenwood Village, CO - Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre
June 07 - Boise, ID - Outlaw Field at the Idaho Botanical Garden **
June 08 - Redmond, WA - Marymoor Park
June 10 - Troutdale, OR - McMenamins Edgefield #
June 11 - Bend, OR - Les Schwab Amphitheater #
June 13 - Saratoga, CA - The Mountain Winery **
June 14 - Saratoga, CA - The Mountain Winery **
June 17 - Murphys, CA - Ironstone Amphitheatre
June 18 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre
June 21 - Grand Prairie, TX - Verizon Theatre
June 22 - Sugar Land, TX - Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
June 24 - Saint Augustine, FL - Saint Augustine Amphitheatre
June 25 - Boca Raton, FL - Mizner Park Amphitheatre
June 27 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheatre **
June 28 - Cary, NC - Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre
June 30 - Gilford, NH - Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
July 01 - Lenox, MA - Tanglewood
July 03 - Vienna, VA - Wolf Trap ***
July 06 - Philadelphia, PA - The Mann Music Center
July 07 - Bethel, NY - Bethel Woods Center for the Arts **
July 08 - Canandaigua, NY - CMAC
July 11 - New York, NY - Forest Hills Stadium
August 04 - West Allis, WI - Wisconsin State Fair *
August 05 - Davenport, IA - Mississippi Valley Fair *
August 29 - St Paul, MN - Minnesota State Fair *
August 31 - Allentown, PA - The Great Allentown Fair *
September 01 - Essex Junction, VT - Champlain Valley Fair *
# Jewel is Special Guest for this show, Emmylou Harris will not be performing
* Emmylou Harris and Lily and Madeleine will not be appearing
** Public & Pre-Sale Ticket on sale date TBA
*** July 03 - Vienna, VA - Wolf Trap on sale March 18 at 10 am