John Mellencamp Releases New Music Video in Support of Coal Miners

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer covers Merle Travis' “Dark as a Dungeon”

June 29, 2017

John Mellencamp has given new life to a 70-year-old tune in support of a good cause.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and recent Stern Show guest dropped a cover on Wednesday of “Dark as a Dungeon,” a song that shines a light on harsh conditions and everyday dangers for coal miners. The track was written by Merle Travis in 1946 and was made even more famous after Johnny Cash performed a live jailhouse version included on his 1968 album “At Folsom Prison.”

Mellencamp recorded the cover for “From the Ashes,” a coal industry documentary that premiered Sunday on National Geographic Channel. The video for his version (above) intercuts footage of him singing and playing guitar with that of coal miners hard at work.

Mellencamp last visited the Stern Show in March, ahead of the release of his album “Sad Clowns & Hillbillies.” During his sit-down with Howard, he discussed everything from politics to songwriting to nearly co-starring in “Thelma & Louise.” Listen to the full interview here.

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