20 December, 2019Print
Elvis Costello Talks Awesome 2019 + Teases 2020 Plans
(New York, NY) 2019 has been a year of immense achievement for Elvis Costello, with the smash success of a co-headlining tour with Blondie in the summer followed by rave reviews for his five-week “Just Trust” tour with The Imposters. It has also been a year in which Costello’s 40-year musical career has been acknowledged with awards and nominations.
In addition to a Grammy nomination in the "Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album" category for his album with the Imposters, 'Look Now,' Costello received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Americana Honors, is to become the recipient of a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star and, perhaps most unexpectedly, he received an O.B.E. (or Order Of The British Empire).
Costello is among the first class of contemporary musicians to be eligible for "Best Traditional Pop Vocal" because of an under-the-radar rule change that has opened up the category to music "performed in traditional pop style ... without regard to the age of the material."
With this crucial amendment, Look Now - which features three songs co-written with Burt Bacharach during the last ten years and another composed with Carole King in the mid-90s alongside twelve of Costello’s recent solo compositions -became eligible for nomination.
Upon hearing of his inclusion in the category Costello said:
“Every record I’ve made has been pop music, whatever the rhythm or tone of the songs, whatever the instrumentation, production or compositional style. “My Aim Is True”, “Armed Forces” and “Imperial Bedroom” are all pop music to me, so are “Blood And Chocolate”, “Painted From Memory” and “North”.
This category used to be mostly about albums of Standards. I suppose if the audience is still requesting the performance of the songs that I wrote forty years ago, all such definitions are now open to review.
“Look Now” contains lyrical portraits and narrative ballads, some of them hushed and emotional but it also features a swinging rhythm section. Some of those songs were almost brand new when we cut them but one of the tunes was written more than 25 years ago. The record is testament to patience and belief in songs finding their ideal moment to be heard.
One last thing. I went to the studio to record my string and horn orchestrations for “Look Now” the day after I received my cancer diagnosis of February 2018. Even though I had every faith a single surgery would take care of the matter, this news inevitably gave a new sense of purpose to the final sessions for the record. When I stepped to the microphone to sing on the lead vocal sessions, there was an unavoidable thought, that should this prove to be my last recording, I’d better make it a good one.
Nevertheless, I’d be very surprised to prevail in this contest but finding myself in the company of Barbra Streisand, Michael Buble, Andrea Bocelli and John Legend is really not so different as being in contest with Toto, The Cars and A Taste of Honey”
Costello was, of course, referring to his 1979 nomination in the Best New Artist category after which he became something of a stranger to the Grammy circle, not receiving a single nomination of his albums from the late 70s through the 80s and until 1991, when his album, “Mighty Like A Rose” was considered for the Alternative Music category and 1996 when he and Burt Bacharach were nominated for “God Give Me Strength” in the Best Pop Collaboration category, one in which they finally prevailed in 1998 with the song, “I Still Have That Other Girl”.
Elvis Costello was nominated three times in 2002 across the Rock and Alternative Music categories before receiving four nominations in 2004 in the Rock, Pop and Soundtrack categories. His remaining nominations, in 2006, 2009 and 2016, have been in the categories for Pop Vocal, Contemporary Folk Album and even Spoken Word.
Looking to 2020, Elvis Costello and The Imposters will take their “Just Trust” tour to the U.K., opening in Liverpool on February 28th, returning to Sunderland after a period of 40 years and performing at the Hammersmith Apollo for the first time since playing a six-night stand with The Rude 5 in 1991, when the venue was still known as the “Hammersmith Odeon".
Costello is continuing to work on the much-anticipated stage musical adaptation of the Budd Schulberg story, A Face In The Crowd, songs from which have been previewed during solo and band shows over the last few years.
Watch this space for the imminent announcement of an unprecedented new release based on one of Elvis Costello and the Attractions most celebrated albums.