In this day and age where the concept known as "the album" is on a slow death march, an old pro like Elvis Costello knows you got to put your face in front of the people to sell your product. To that end, Costello has planned television appearances every day this week. He's going to be on Letterman (Monday), PBS' The Artists Den (Tuesday), MSNBC's Morning Joe (Wednesday), The Colbert Report (Thursday) and Fallon (Friday).
The album he's so tirelessly* hawking this week is National Ransom, his 33rd such release. Out this Tuesday, the album takes a bit of the bluegrass Costello tried out on 2009's Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, expanding it into much noisier territory. T-Bone Burnett (producer) and the Nashville superstars he collected as the Sugarcanes are on board again, but so are Imposters bandmates Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas, plus big name guest turns from Vince Gill, Buddy Miller, Leon Russell and longtime collaborator Marc Ribot.
*Costello is so hands-on with this album promotion that he even interviewed himself for a series of posts leading up to the album. With no Mary-Louise Parker this time to fawn over him, he relies on himself for, um, self-gratification.
Elsewhere, it will be interesting to see the child-like wonder of singer Jonathan Richman paired with the similar child-like wonder of talk show host Jimmy Fallon on Monday night. Unlike most popular man-child personalities out there today (see Jackass), both Richman and Fallon share a level of sincerity that makes their boyish enthusiasm hard to resist. Richman's been at it now for 40 years, having started the legendary Modern Lovers back in 1970, and throughout his solo career, he's never lost the spontaneity that he started with. There's a better than good chance that Fallon can talk Richman into performing an old Modern Lovers classic, if only as a web-only exclusive. We all want "Pablo Picasso," but will happily settle for the more likely "Road Runner."
Picks for the week
Monday, November 1
Tuesday, November 2
Wednesday, November 3
Thursday, November 4
Friday, November 5
Saturday, November 6
*As with all PBS offerings, be sure to check local listings.
curator of the music/soundtrack blog thus spake drake