The Tennessean: Little Big Town Vocalist Duets With John Mellencamp

Peter Cooper • Staff Writer
Bloomington, Ind., isn't much of a destination spot in the winter, except for basketball players looking to beat up on the disappointing 2008-09 version of the state university's Hoosier hoopsters.

Yet Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild found herself up in Bloomington last week, shooting a video with John Mellencamp for a song called "A Ride Back Home."

The song is from John's Life, Death, Love and Freedom album, produced by T-Bone Burnett (who also produced the Grammy-winning Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album), and Karen features prominently as a harmony vocalist on the album. "A Ride Back Home" is a duet, and Mellencamp's peeps are hoping the video will receive airplay on GAC and CMT.

"I would love it if country radio would play that," Karen said. "The song is one of my favorites on the record. John says it's about loneliness. For me, it seems like a song about a man contemplating his life and asking the important questions."

"The song's about life's loneliness, and that's what we tried to get across in this video, but I don't see it as sad," John added. "It's more of a timeless, positive, spiritual message. When I looked at the chapel where we shot it, I thought of June Carter and the Carter Family up there. Karen sang on about half the Life, Death, Love and Freedom album with me in this fashion, so it just made perfect sense for her to be in the video. She's such a great singer."

John and Karen shot the video in a chapel on the Indiana University campus, where they had to physically remove dozens of Hoosier fans who were there praying for the return of Coach BobbyKnight.

Actually, that's not true. Well, the part about shooting the video in the chapel is true. Anyway, you'll see for yourself, at least if the country video networks deem it flameworthy. As for Little Big Town, those folks are out on the road, playing tropical spots such as Boise, Idaho.

"The shows have been going amazingly well, in spite of a bad economy," Karen said. "I think people want the escape."

For Nashvillians looking to escape, Bloomington is actually a beautiful town … in the spring. The late spring
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