by Adam Gold
From the Department of Solved Mysteries: Do you guys remember how Elvis Costello was spotted in town, last February? He was sitting in with Time Jumpers at Station Inn, supposedly holed up in T-Bone Burnett’s Belmont-area studio while Attractions/Imposters drummer Pete Thomas was seen grubbin’ over at PM — leading to speculation that the bespectacled one and band were conceiving a new album in Nashville.
Well, according to a press release issued Friday, such was indeed the case, as it was announced that National Ransom — Costello’s forthcoming full-length, produced by Burnett and Cut in Nashville and L.A. over the course of 11 days — is slated for release on Nov. 2.
Judging by the press release, we can expect to hear a rock ’n’ roll record with a bluegrass touch, as the LP will feature Costello’s longtime lieutenants The Imposters, as joined by members of The Sugarcanes — the bluegrass ensemble he assembled to back him on 2009’s Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, also produced by Burnett. If you remember, The Sugarcanes boosted such golden-fingered — and -voiced — hotshots as Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Jim Lauderdale, Dennis Crouch, Mike Compton and Jeff Taylor. In addition to their contributions, expect appearances from Music City luminaries the likes of Vince Gill, Marc Ribot and Buddy Miller.
The Jim Lauderdale co-penned “I Lost You” and the Burnett co-penned “All These Strangers” will appear alongside another baker’s dozen of new Costello cuts. Costello calls the album’s title track a rock song “for the bankrupt times, whenever they may be” — a theme that will persist throughout the record as Costello addresses our financial crisis through tales of fictitious 1930s English cowboy troubadours and infamous old-time nightclub singers. Peep the video above to check out The Sugarcanes performing one of them, “A Slow Drag With Josephine,” and see the complete National Ransom track list below.
This could be good. Also, I’d say a fall or winter Costello Ryman appearance is about as inevitable as tomorrow’s sunrise.
1. National Ransom
2. Jimmie Standing in the Rain
3. Stations of the Cross
4. A Slow Drag With Josephine
5. Five Small Words
6. Church Underground
7. You Hung the Moon
8. Bullets for the New-Born King
9. I Lost You
10. Dr Watson, I Presume
11. One Bell Ringing
12. The Spell That You Cast
13. That's Not The Part of Him You're Leaving
14. My Lovely Jezebel
15. All These Strangers