Shreveport Times, November 5, 2010

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National Ransom

Elvis Costello

Dan DeLuca / Associated Press

★★★

With last year's Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, Elvis Costello settled in with super-roots producer T-Bone Burnett for an accomplished, if typically verbose, country-flavored acoustic set that faintly recalled the 1985 Costello-Burnett collaboration King of America.

National Ransom picks up where SP&S left off and goes deeper and wider, once again working with Americana players like Jim Lauderdale and Jerry Douglas and Burnett helpmate Marc Ribot, while also bringing in ringers such as Vince Gill and Leon Russell. Stylistically and narratively, the album is all over the place — from the aggressively rocking title cut about the financial crises in 1929 and 2008, to the quick-picking, bluegrass-flavored "Doctor Watson, I Presume" about meeting guitar great Doc Watson, to the deeply felt parlor ballad "You Hung the Moon" about a British family trying to connect with a dead World War I soldier through a seance.

Is it all a bit much to digest, and could the 16-song set do with a bit of pruning? Absolutely, but it just as surely finds Costello working at an improbably high level 33 years after he debuted with My Aim Is True.

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Shreveport Times, November 5, 2010


Dan DeLuca reviews National Ransom.

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2010-11-05 Shreveport Times page 10E.jpg
Page scan.

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