If you closed your eyes during the Elvis Costello & the Sugarcanes show Wednesday night, you might have thought you were at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry -- instead of New York City's newly glitzified Beacon Theater. Costello and his six-piece band of country virtuosos -- including Jerry Douglas on Dobro and Jim Lauderdale on backing vocals began by ripping through Merle Haggard's "Tonight, the Bottle Let Me Down," Costello's "Complicated Shadows" (a tune originally penned for Johnny Cash), and about a dozen other yee-hah gems from the group's fiddle-friendly new album, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane. The record had debuted at a lucky No. 13 on the Billboard chart that morning, so Costello was in the mood to entertain -- and, at times, dazzle -- the crowd. "Some call that number unlucky," he said.
Elvis Costello celebrated the release of his new album, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, Tuesday night with a rare solo acoustic show at an Irish dive bar in lower Manhattan for a liquored-up crowd of 150 or so radio contest winners and adoring fans. The New Wave era's most talented and prolific songwriter set the tone for his 10-tune set by quoting advice his bandleader father gave him many years ago: "He said to imagine your name on the magical marquee of Carnegie Hall....