John Mellencamp teased his upcoming 25th LP by sampling the mournful, folky new song "I Always Lie to Strangers." "There'll be no church bells chiming for me," he croons in a gravelly, Tom Waits-like rumble over stark acoustic guitar, piano and violin.

You can hear the one-minute sample at Mellencamp's official site.

"Mellencamp will soon return to the studio to finish recording his 25th album," reads an accompanying note. "Prior to the onset of the global pandemic, he has already cut 10 tracks and plans to record another 17 for the project." While it doesn't specify a release date, a press release notes that the album — which follows 2017's Sad Clowns & Hillbillies — is "due out later this year."

The singer-songwriter also announced plans for two other projects: a new live LP and documentary, both titled The Good Samaritan Tour, which document Mellencamp's free 2000 tour where he played on street corners and in public parks throughout the U.S. Matthew McConaughey will narrate the film.

Mellencamp has yet to announce release dates for the projects, which are due in the spring. In the meantime, he released a "sneak preview" video on his site. He's also updated fans about his tentative live plans, writing, "At present, we are looking to tour in 2022, but that all depends on the pandemic and our ability to recover from it."

Along with his music and film work, Mellencamp is aiming to resume production on an "untitled original play" directed by Kathleen Marshall, produced by Scott Landis and written by Naomi Wallace.


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