OXFORD — Ladies and gentleman, Elvis is alive and well in Northeast Mississippi.
Elvis Costello, a rock n' roll icon since the 1970s, has taken up short-term residence here to record a new album.
"It's a pretty big deal," said Elaine Abadie, executive director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. "He's just been making himself at home. I've had several sightings."
Costello and his bandmates have been spotted riding bikes through town, eating green pea and onion soup at the Bottletree Bakery, performing at Proud Larry's and appearing on Thacker Mountain Radio.
During the Thacker Mountain appearance, Mayor Richard Howorth made Costello an honorary citizen of Oxford.
"I've also seen him and his mates around town on bicycles," Howorth said. "They've been scooting around and getting their morning coffee at the Bottletree and just hanging around when they're not recording."
Costello is a versatile artist who's written pop, country, traditional, jazz and gospel songs. He recently was nominated for an Academy Award for "The Scarlet Tide," a song he contributed to the Cold Mountain movie soundtrack.
In the pop world, he's known for songs like "Alison," "Everyday I Write the Book," "(What's So Funny Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," "Lipstick Vogue," "Veronica" and more.
He is recording his next album with producer Dennis Herring at Sweet Tea Recording in Oxford. A nationally known producer, Herring has worked with bands like Counting Crows and Jars of Clay.
Costello and crew tried out some new songs during two nights of performances at Proud Larry's April 2-3.
"Dennis said Elvis likes to rehearse and play new songs live before he goes into the studio," said Scott Caradine, owner of Proud Larry's. He added Costello will be in town until sometime next week.
Howorth said having a celebrity in town hasn't presented much of a disruption.
"We're certainly not immune to celebrity-itis. I think people get excited when certain people are in town," he said. "I like to think people can control themselves. Everybody is being cool as far as I can tell."