Pop star turned Country and Western, Elvis Costello and his crew The Attractions, hit Ireland this month with a tour which includes a gig at Leisureland, Galway, on Thursday, Feb. 17th.
Country and Western is one small step sideways in Costello's career, perhaps, at least where his songwriting goes, and his last album Almost Blue was the fruit of his sidestep.
But Country music has never been too far below the surface on the Costello catalogue — like his own "Stranger In The House" and in the feel of nearly all his more mournful, reflective material.
His hit "Good Year for the Roses" was 1981's best deserved hit and remains a far cry from some of his previous successes like "I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea," "Oliver's Army" and "Accidents Will Happen."
It might be the sophisticated view that Country is trite, maudlin and sentimental, but Elvis plays it straight. Costello and company cut through the layers of smart prejudice to find the music's enduring values, its shy humour, its lyrical craftsmanship and its melancholy dignity.
Besides crooning, Elvis also turns his hand to producing and worked on the second last album with Squeeze on which they had their big hit, "Labelled With Love."
On February 17th Elvis Costello and the Attractions will do a marathon 2½-hour show which is drawn from all his seven albums and should not be missed.
Tickets available locally from Music City, High Street, Tuam.