Pop & Rock

VOICES Notes and news on Pop & Rock releases

Sulphur To Hollywood

19 AUG 09 DAVID VIENNA

Elvis Costello brought his traveling hootenanny to Hollywood's Greek Theatre last night. Backed by a collection of veteran bluegrass musicians billed as The Sugarcanes, Elvis plucked and swayed through tracks from his recent Hear Music release Secret, Profane And Sugarcane as well as a handful of hits from his catalog and covers reworked to fit the folksy tone of the evening.

Hearing a full band -- guitars, double bass, violin, accordion, mandolin -- play cuts from his recent release like "Sulphur To Sugarcane" and "Down Among The Wine And Spirits" created an unexpected energy considering the low-key vibe on the album. Less like an acoustic show and more like a rowdy parlor band, Elvis and The Sugarcanes kept the evening moving with bluegrass renditions of other Elvis songs such as "Everyday I Write The Book" and "Alison."

Elvis is clearly a fan of all types of music and simply enjoys playing a good song. He peppered his set with covers from a broad spectrum of artists, all magically spun as bluegrass twangers. He revived Merle Haggard's "Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down" (which originally appeared on Elvis' stellar Almost Blue), The Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" and two duets with opening act Lucinda Williams, a hilarious rendition of her "Jailhouse Tears" and The Rolling Stones' "Happy."

Costello is the consummate artist, trying on different hats, exploring the nuances and of great music in all genres. His current hat is coated with dust from a dirt road traveled between flophouses and barroom gigs. He's on tour now, so check him out if you can.



Duane Allman Skydog: The Restrospective