Sneak Preview Record Review: Elvis Costello—Secret, Profane & Sugarcane

April 16, 2009

Mr. Elvis is back with an (almost) all-acoustic collection of tunes.

You get a classic helping of his killer, emotional vocals, but the acoustic instruments are definitely in a co-starring role. Costello’s flat-top is in fine form, as is the gorgeous Dobro work of Jerry Douglas. There are no drums on the record, allowing the acoustic guitar—as well as Mike Compton’s mandolin—to provide the backbeat, for an amazingly intimate listening experience. T Bone Burnett provides the timeless production and the only electric guitar work on the album (courtesy of his Kay 161). Highlights include the two-beat treatment of “Hidden Shame,” a tune Costello wrote for Johnny Cash. From start to finish this is an honest, naked record that reminds us why we love Elvis, especially when he surrounds himself with players like these. Hear Music.

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