Elvis Costello and Amazing Guests

I’ll try to keep a lid on the hyperbole here, but I have to say the group of singers and songwriters on this week’s show is quite a collection.

Kris Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash, John Mellencamp and Norah Jones – that’s a lot of talent on one stage. Oh, and there’s that Costello character QB’ing the proceedings as well. Not bad.

It was Elvis’s idea to film a “guitar pull” and tap into the Americana vein of songwriting this way. There’s a Johnny Cash connection to the guitar pull concept – on the show, Elvis and a certain member of the Cash family explain it better than I ever could, so don’t miss the beginning of the proceedings for that small history lesson. Kris Kristofferson contributes a few words on the subject, too, which he’s more than qualified to do, having spent many a late night in the Cash living room in Tennessee with the Man in Black himself, as well as various guests such as the young Bob Dylan (and, of course, the very young Rosanne Cash).

Musically, you’re in for another treat. Many, actually. KK delivers, in his inimitable, simple style, a few of the greatest American songs of all time. Rosanne, no slouch in the writing department her own self, serves up a beauty or two. Small town boy John Mellencamp contributes – with no muss and no fuss – a classic and a new one. And the radiant Norah Jones brings that incredible voice and a new song she wrote with…well, I won’t spoil it, but it’s kind of mind-boggling. And, once again, the host comes through most entertainingly.

As impressive as Kris Kristofferson’s body of work is, and as large as his life has been (I mean how many guys have been Rhodes scholars, songwriting icons AND movie stars, and still make women weak at the knees at 72?), you could not hope to meet a nicer, more humble man. Honestly, chatting with him for 20 minutes was probably the highlight of making the entire Spectacle series for me.

Not that it matters to anybody what my personal experiences were, but I put this out there only for context. Making Spectacle was a privilege, period. We were blessed with some of the most incredible musicians in the business, and many really wonderful people who were a joy to deal with. But Kristofferson’s something else. Hard to articulate, but he just sits there in his black jeans and beat-up boots, looks you in the eye, listens to what you have to say and responds honestly – all with a twinkle in his eyes. I suspect it isn’t just coincidence that he’s had all that success as a songwriter. The guy knows how to pay attention to the human experience – and how to distill it in two and a half minutes, with a guitar. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Enjoy the show, and thanks for watching.

Stephen Warden
Executive Producer/Creator
Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…