A week on the scene
Crosses to bear
Eric Hisaw’s The Crosses has such an offhand, slice-of-life ease about it, that you don’t immediately notice how well-crafted it is. With expert, country flavored guitar work from Hisaw himself and unobtrusive pedal-steel from Larry Tracy, the album suggests a honky-tonk Alejandro Escovedo, right down to Hisaw’s gruff, dour delivery. The latest release from Saustex Media, the label run by local punk hero Jeff Smith, The Crosses will be christened with a CD-release show at the Limelight (2718 N. St. Mary’s) on Friday, April 7.
The following night, the Limelight will host “Ram Jam,” a benefit for Kim Crawford-Hays, wife of the late Richard Hays, a member of the Country Giants and The Hickoids. Kim suffered a near-fatal fall three months ago, and her medical bills continue to be astronomical. The show will include Big Drag, Los #3 Dinners, The Hickoids, and Los Mescaleros, among others. The music starts at 6 p.m., and the cover is $5.
Elvis Costello isn’t exactly a newcomer to working with classical instruments: More than a decade ago, he recorded The Juliet Letters with the Brodsky Quartet, writing and co-writing songs specifically to sing with a string quartet. (Rhino has just reissued that landmark with a second disc of outtakes and related tunes.) But his concert-hall leanings have only been growing. In the years since Juliet, he has recorded duets with mezzo soprano Anne-Sofie von Otter, joined saxophonist John Harle for the highbrow Terror & Magnificence, and written the outright orchestral work Il Sogno. His recordings for erstwhile classical label Deutsche Grammophon are almost more high-profile than those for pop-music companies these days.
All of which is to say that he won’t be uncomfortable next Tuesday when he takes the stage at UT’s Bass Concert Hall in Austin, standing alongside the Austin Symphony Orchestra. With longtime keyboardist Steve Nieve, the bespectacled songwriter will perform two sets: one of the aforementioned Il Sogno material and one romping through strings-attached versions of his back catalog. If his performance on My Flame Burns Blue (the recent DG release of a live show with the Metropole Orkest) is any indication, he’ll be right at home. Info and tickets: utpac.org, (800)687-6010.