Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Wise Up Ghost

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Wise Up Ghost

Article excerpt

WISE UP GHOST

Elvis Costello and The Roots (Blue Note, 2013)

The coupling might raise a few eyebrows, but Elvis Costello and hip-hop outfit The Roots have more in common than one might think.

The Roots' performances--fluent in jazz, soul, and funk--distinguish them from their peers in the rap world, where live instruments can be rare. And Costello has dabbled in as many musical idioms over the years as he has recorded albums, often to memorable effect.

The seeds for this unlikely joint effort were sown during Costello's appearances on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, where The Roots are the house band. The record certainly carries a freewheeling vibe from those informal early sessions, with almost half of the songs being more than five minutes long. That gives Costello ample space to talk about what's on his mind--chiefly, corruption and vice in their many forms: political and spiritual, personal and corporate.

On the album's opener, "Walk Us Uptown," Costello snarls, "Will you walk us uptown/while our tears run in torrents/to suffer in silence or pray for some solace. …

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