We've got an absolutely loaded lineup of New Album Releases for your ears this week — including no less than Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews, and that Neil Young box — and I don't want to waste another minute before getting to it. Josh Hathaway will also be joining us shortly to talk about the new one from Big James and the Chicago Playboys.
However, I have an announcement I need to make. This will be my final New Album Releases column for Blogcritics.
Personally, I'm not going anywhere, and will in fact continue here at BC as both a writer and an editor. But I am moving on from the New Album Releases desk to ply my particular talents elsewhere on the site. I also have no idea who, if anyone, will be taking over this column. If I knew any more than that I'd tell you, but for now that's all the info I have.
Now with that said, we've got a lot to cover this week. So let's get to it.
It's little surprise that Elvis Costello recruited T-Bone Burnett to produce the stripped-down country sounds on his latest album, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane.
It's not Costello's first time working with Burnett, who also produced his albums King Of America (which had many of the same elements found here) and Spike (which didn't). Costello's very first stab at making this type of album actually goes all the way back to 1981's Almost Blue, an album of covers by people like George Jones, which is mostly best left forgotten. On Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, Costello fares much better.
The first volume of Neil Young's ten plus years in the making Archives series of boxed sets also finally sees the light of day this week. Neil's fans have had to endure tease after tease about this release over the years, only to have the artist pull it back for more of his seemingly endless tweaking. So this one definitely wins this week's "hell freezes over" award. Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972 is available in CD, DVD, and Blu-ray versions.
Speaking of Neil Young, his bandmates in Crosby Stills & Nash have assembled their own retrospective set of Demos, which was reviewed by BC's own Stuart A Hamilton earlier this week. Dave Matthews Band is back in jam-band form on Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King, their first album since the death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore.