Album: Elvis Costello, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane (Universal/Decca)

Recorded in Nashville with T-Bone Burnett producing and Jerry Douglas on dobro… SP&S isn't Almost Blue 2 but it is country, bluegrass, the soup of white American folk music thickened up with jam-packed Elvis metre. You might argue that much of what we hear borders on the academic in its pursuit of the idiomatic, but it is also true that it is all done with passion. You'll have to find out for yourself how this all connects with Hans Christian Andersen. A dense, sometimes studiedly beautiful effort.