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Elvis Costello @ Amoeba Music 6/22/09

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It’s not exactly shocking to hear that Elvis Costello’s latest album, Secret, Profane and Sugarcane, is a collaboration with bluegrass musicians. Costello’s taken so many leaps into alternate musical universes, it wouldn’t be shocking to hear he was working with anybody. Li’l Wayne, Herb Alpert, Placido Domingo, Michael Jackson, Ornette Coleman, the Broadway company of Rent - you name it, you can imagine it happening. But this particular diversion, as witnessed at Amoeba on Monday night, looks like one that could leave a lasting impression.

Costello shared the stage with guitarist and singer Jim Lauderdale and mandolin player Mike Compton, esteemed performers in their own right, performing the bulk of the new album along with a couple of brand new songs (which appeared to be titled “Condemned Man” and “Five Small Words”), along with “Blame It On Cain”, the only concession to his own back catalog, and a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” in a 52-minute set.