Elvis Costello Leans Country


Elvis Costello photo courtesy of elviscostello.com

May 7, 2009 — Heralded rock artist Elvis Costello is something of a musical chameleon, and he made country music the centerpiece of his next album, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, due June 2.

He worked with producer T Bone Burnett to record the entire project in a fast three days at Nashville’s Sound Emporium, tapping such Nashville figures as Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris, Jim Lauderdale, fiddler Stuart Duncan, bass player Dennis Crouch, mandolin player Mike Compton and Dobro player Jerry Douglas. Elvis has cut everything from borderline punk to traditional pop in more than three decades as an artist, and while Profane is not his first country release, it demonstrates how far he’s grown since the early part of his career when he hid his appreciation for the genre.

"We always had mix tapes, compilations of songs I was listening to," he told Paste. "My manager would say, 'Don't put those George Jones songs on, in case one of those journalists gets on the tour bus.' To hand [a member of the press] something that suggested I was into an entirely other kind of music than what I was playing would have been foolish."

When Elvis went to make a country-influenced album, he was anything but foolish in his choices. T Bone Burnett produced the multi-million-selling O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, and the musicians — touring with him as the Sugarcanes — have worked with such acts as Alison Krauss, Alan Jackson, Robert Plant and Dwight Yoakam. The Sound Emporium has provided a location for recording sessions for such films as Walk The Line and Cold Mountain, as well as projects by Merle Haggard, Sugarland, Garth Brooks and R.E.M.

The tour with the Sugarcanes begins June 9 in Red Bank, N.J.