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Even Damon Albarn and Jack White have some distance to go to equal the genre-bending achievements of Bill Frisell, not just the outstanding jazz guitarist of his era but also the most diversely prolific, equally at home providing accompaniment to Buster Keaton movies as he is collaborating with Elvis Costello.
'Heroin addicts, ex-cons, married men...' Amy Rigby has always based her darkly funny tales of love-gone-wrong on her own life. So how did the 'greatest modern songwriter you've never heard of' find herself living in the middle of nowhere with a former punk-rocker called Wreckless Eric?
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.
Elvis Costello albums seem to arrive with increasing frequency these days, their diversity appearing more like compensation for their patchiness.
Recorded as an offshoot of sessions for a Rilo Kiley album, Momofuku has an impromptu quality lacking in Elvis Costello's more considered recent work. Rattling from style to style as Costello aims at one target after another, there's a brusque impatience about the album, which in some cases transfers to the listener: frankly, it's hard to raise two hoots of interest in songs like the McCartneyesque trifle "Mr Feathers", the schematic "Stella Hurt" or the melodrama "Go Away".
I'm culturally bereft. I've been rehearsing at Glyndebourne and living in East Sussex in this idyllic cottage. I drive the two miles to the opera house and then back again. All I see are yellow fields of rapeseed, the South Downs and countryside. My culture is the dawn chorus and silence because there are no sirens out here. I'm starting to read Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje; he wrote The English Patient. I found Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles on the shelf in my rented cottage. It has all this erotic language about the landscape and it totally describes the life I'm leading at the moment. The role of Nerone I'm playing in L'incoronazione di Poppea is also highly erotic.