For the last dozen or so years, Elvis Costello has switched genres like he was trying on shirts at the outlet mall: orchestral works, New Orleans R&B with Allen Toussaint, stately ballads with Swedish messo-soprano Anne-Sofie von Otter, a writing collaboration with Burt Bacharach and a jazz summit with Bill Frisell. He even managed to squeeze in a bit of rock n roll.
While his musical bed-hopping sounds like fun, it has served to render his artistic vision a bit fuzzy. The what will Costello come up with next? question started to grow tiresome a few outings ago.
Which brings us to Secret, Profane & Sugarcane his first for Starbucks Hear Music imprint wherein he calls on producer T Bone Burnett and gets the full-on T Bone treatment. Yup, acoustic guitar, Dobro, mandolin, fiddle, upright bass, banjo, accordion, mountain music arrangements, the tunes configured into contemporary takes old-timey Americana (matched by the CD packaging).
You may recall that Burnett was at the helm for Robert Plant and Allison Krauss Raising Sand, a serendipitous convergence of talent that went Grammy wild.