BIG Music News: John Mellencamp, Allman Brothers

JOHN MELLENCAMP:  23rd studio album is out today

John Mellencamp is back today with a new album, his first in just over two-and-a-half years.

Sad Clowns & Hillbillies is his 23rd studio effort and it features, quite prominently, Carlene Cash, the daughter of June Carter Cash and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash. John met Carlene when she was in the cast of the touring production of his and Stephen King's musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.

John Mellencamp on how he ended up recording a new album, Sad Clowns & Hillbillies, with Carlene Carter:  "I was at a rehearsal one day and during a break I picked up a guitar and started playing something and I heard somebody harmonizing with me and it was her. And it was like, 'Wow, that sounds good.' So that's the whole thing began and then we ended up doing like, I don't know, 200 shows together, and we sang on stage every night and one night I walked off stage for a moment and she was standing in the wings and I said, 'Carlene, we should make a record together.' And she goes, 'Yeah, yeah, let's do that.' And that's the way the whole thing started."

The album includes 13 songs and features a few other special guests. Martina McBride sings on the latest single, "Grandview," which was co-written by John's cousin Bobby Clark. And playing on that song is former Guns N' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin and former Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers drummer Stan Lynch.

Mellencamp and Carlene will support the album with a 34-date tour starting on June 5th in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Joining them will be Emmylou Harris.

John performed songs from the album (and his classics) in our iHeartRadio Theater in New York on Thursday night.

GREGG ALLMAN:  Not at death's door

The week began with a report that Gregg Allman was in hospice care, which both he and his manager quickly denied -- and now a former bandmate says that, from his "perspective" at least, Allman doesn't seem to be on his way out.

Guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks visited Allman at his Savannah, Georgia home "a few days ago," Haynes tells journalist Gary Graff. He says they hadn't "seen him in a while, so it was good to catch up." While they were there, they "told stories for a few hours and gave him positive thoughts."

Asked if there was still a chance of an Allman Brothers Band reunion at some point, Haynes was less positive. "I didn't even see it happening again before [original drummer and Derek's uncle] Butch [Trucks] died, and especially after that, I would pretty much close the door on it." (JamBase)

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