Elvis Costello

Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (Hear Music)

Phases & Stages

Elvis Costello

Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (Hear Music)

Now that T Bone Burnett's spun platinum out of Raising Sand, classic rock has reverted back to its roots. Elvis Costello's country oeuvre, 1981's Almost Blue and 1986's King of America, gains an in-law in his bluegrass album, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, more spontaneous creation from another standard-bearer (Bob Dylan, Neil Young) whose advancing years erode the incubation process. Self-assurance draws out opening salivation "Down Among the Wine and Spirits" seemingly longer than its three minutes, and "Complicated Shadows" follows suit, but anything longer – and almost everything is – stagnates, beginning with Loretta Lynn co-write "I Felt the Chill," which begs for the obvious duet. Exception to the rule proves the singer's six-minutes with producer Burnett on "Sulphur to Sugarcane," second of those couple new additions to the larger canon that all the provens manage on every new disc. (Elvis Costello & the Sugarcanes play Bass Concert Hall Sept. 1.)

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