The angry young Briton has gradually revealed himself as a thoughtful student of American music, and this new set, cut in Nashville, does for country what the band's Get Happy did for r&b — respect the music's form and its essence, yet link both to Costello's own writing. The key twist here is the complete reliance on outside material, and what material it is. From Hank Williams and Don Gibson to Merle Haggard, Charlie Rich and Gram Parsons. Costello finds and fulfills the promise of some simply terrific songs. Ironically, the arrangements are as authentic as anything likely to emanate from Music Row this year. Only Costello's vocal style and the garish cover hint at the set's thematic tie to rock.
Best cuts: "Why Don't You Love Me (Like You Used To Do)," "I'm Your Toy (Hot Burrito #1)," "Brown To Blue," "A Good Year For The Roses," "Sittin' And Thinkin.'"