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Costello’s Rock, Classical Albums Set for Sept. 21
NEW YORK (Billboard) – Elvis Costello has set a Sept. 21 release date for the simultaneous release of two new albums.
A new rock album will be issued by Lost Highway, while “Il Sogno,” his first full-length orchestral work, will emerge via Deutsche Grammophon.
Largely recorded at Sweet Tea Studios in Oxford, Miss., the as-yet-untitled rock album features Costello backed by his band the Imposters — Attractions drummer Pete Thomas and keyboardist Steve Nieve and former Cracker bassist Davey Farragher.
The disc also includes guest appearances by Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris, who give voice to characters in the song “The Delivery Man.” Also featured is pedal steel guitarist John McFee (Doobie Brothers), who previously appeared on Costello’s 1977 debut “My Aim Is True” and 1981’s “Almost Blue.”
Produced by Costello and Dennis Herring (Modest Mouse, Throwing Muses), the album also features the song “Monkey to Man,” recorded in Clarksdale, Miss., home to the Delta Blues Museum and often referred to as the birthplace of the genre.
The set will be the follow-up to 2002’s “When I Was Cruel,” his last album with the Imposters. The Island set debuted at No. 20 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 201,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
As for “Il Sogno,” it was recorded in 2002 by the London Symphony Orchestra after being originally commissioned by Italy’s Aterballeto dance company for an adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“I was extremely surprised to be asked, I had little or no understanding of the world of dance,” Costello says. “When asked ‘Who is your favorite dancer?,’ I replied honestly, ‘Cyd Charisse.”‘
“There are elements of humor,” he says. “When it came to writing music for the supernatural beings in the story, I thought it is only appropriate that they should be swinging faeries. However, there are also passages representing confusion, jealousy, anger and turmoil. These cues have the edges, angles that I go looking for in rock and roll but the way they are achieved is utterly different. I hope there are also moments of tenderness.”
The ballet premiered in Bologna and was staged elsewhere in Italy before Costello began to adapt the score to a concert piece. Michael Tilson-Thomas conducted the London Symphony’s recording, which features guest soloists drummer Peter Erskine and saxophonist John Harle.
Costello has plans to open Rotterdam’s North Sea Jazz Festival with a July 8 performance at the Buhrmann Midsummer Jazz Gala. Nieve and the Metropole Orkest will join him for the performance of songs from Costello’s 2003 solo album, “North,” and other back-catalog tracks, as well as several unrecorded pieces.
The 52-member Metropole Orkest will reprise its performance with Costello July 13 when it makes its North American debut at New York’s Lincoln Center Festival 2004. Costello will play the event two nights later with the Imposters, and on July 17 attend the continental premiere of “Il Sogno,” performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Nieve and Costello will also perform several songs accompanied by the orchestra during the second half of the evening’s program.
Expanded reissues of “Almost Blue,” the 1984 set “Goodbye Cruel World” and 1995’s “Kojak Variety” will arrive Aug. 3 via Rhino. Costello is also featured performing “Let’s Misbehave” on the soundtrack to the Cole Porter biopic “De-Lovely.” Released Tuesday by Sony Music Soundtrax, the collection features Costello’s new bride, Diana Krall, as well as Alanis Morisette, Sheryl Crow and Natalie Cole, among others.