The past few months have seen a plethora of new Elvis Costello projects in the limelight. First was the veteran Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer’s acclaimed memoir “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink” and its double CD companion retrospective. Then Costello’s first dozen albums were reissued on LP.
This spring, he will embark on a brief US solo tour in support of the projects. The Detour jaunt is an extension of some shows he did in the UK last summer. One such gig, from Liverpool, is the subject of a DVD and Blu-ray, set for release in February (read more below).
With all this activity, it is the perfect time to remind fans about Beyond Belief: A Tribute to Elvis Costello (pictured). The charity release, which came out last year via Arlington, Texas-based SpyderPop Records, features covers by 50 independent acts.
Beyond Belief was spearheaded and executive produced by Orange County, Calif. author/journalist/musician/cable television exec John Borack and Florida television news producer Olivia Frain.
Proceeds benefit Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a non-profit organization that donates musical instruments to underfunded school music programs.
The highly impressive triple disc set borrows its name from a song off 1982’s Imperial Bedroom. Drawing from Costello’s eclectic 38-year recording catalog, these acts delve into rock, power pop, alt-country and more with just the right amount of vigor or restraint.
Highlights include Matthew Sweet, who does a stark “Alison” solo on piano; former Haircut 100 frontman Nick Heyward and the 13 Satellites bring a stately late period Beatles elegance to “Almost Blue” (dig the guitar solo); Butch Walker proves less is more on “The Other End of the Telescope”; Deborah Iyall of Romeo Void takes Costello’s best known tune “Watching the Detectives” and gives it a laid back, jazzy rock sheen, complete with sax bursts; Mike Viola (who has collaborated with Ryan Adams, Dan Wilson and many others) does a gorgeous, string section-enriched “God Give Me Strength”; Brian Wilson Band’s right hand man Scott Bennett delivers the sinister rocker “Green Shirt”; Bill Lloyd (of acclaimed 1980s country/rock duo Foster & Lloyd) gives some superb jangle to “Man Out of Time.”
There are also noteworthy turns by regulars at the worldwide International Pop Overthrow festivals like the Joan Jett-esque sparkle*jets UK on “Mystery Dance”; Walter Clevenger’s gritty “Uncomplicated,” Popdudes (featuring Borack on drums) during the snarling “Kinder Murder” and New Jersey’s The Anderson Council, which gives “Strict Time” a lean, garage rock vibe.
Beyond Belief is available at www.cdbaby.com and www.amazon.com. For more information about the charity, go to www.mhopus.org.
In other Elvis Costello news, the aforementioned DVD and Blu-ray of Detour Live At Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is due out Feb. 12 on Eagle Rock Entertainment home video.
The 2015 tour mixed classic songs performed with guitar or piano with recollections of his family, life and career (see full track list below).
Among the set are recent songs “Church Underground” and “Jimmie Standing in the Rain.” Rebecca and Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe join Costello on several tracks. Bonus tracks on the DVD include “Love Field,” “Either Side Of The Same Town,” “Brilliant Mistake” and “Ascension Day.”
(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Watch Your Step
Accidents Will Happen
I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down
Walkin’ My Baby Back Home
When I Was Cruel No.2
Watching The Detectives
If I Had A Hammer
Pads, Paws And Claws
That’s Not The Part Of Him Your Leaving
Down On The Bottom
Blame It On Cain
A Good Year For The Roses
Side By Side
Jimmie Standing In The Rain
(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding