From Love To Murder To UFOs, A Dark 'Serenade' To Kansas

"Nashville is where you go to make country music," Chuck Mead says. "There's a certain song vibration down here. There's a whole songwriting culture and playing culture that really doesn't exist outside of New York, or Los Angeles or Chicago."

Mead arrived in Nashville 20 years ago and fit right in: He co-founded the Grammy-nominated alt-country group BR549, and has made his name as a singer, songwriter and musician in his own right. His latest album, however, is all about his home state of Kansas. It's called Free State Serenade, and it includes true stories of love, murder, and โ€” Mead swears โ€” UFOs on the high plains, from a perspective the artist could never have captured had he stayed home. He calls the music "Kansas noir." Hear the full story at the audio link.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit