Hear Elvis Costello channel his inner blues-rocker in onstage jam with Billy Gibbons

Elvis Costello (left) and Billy Gibbons perform at the Brooklyn Bowl Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee on March 12, 2023
(Image credit: Ed Rode/Getty Images)

Last Sunday (March 12), the Musician Treatment Foundation – an organization that assists in paying for surgical and nonsurgical care for the shoulder, elbow, and hand injuries of uninsured and underinsured professional musicians – held a benefit concert at the Brooklyn Bowl Nashville.

Elvis Costello, who serves on the Musician Treatment Foundation's board of directors, headlined the show, alongside ZZ Top electric guitar legend Billy Gibbons.

Though Gibbons and Costello have led very different musical careers over the last several decades, the two came together for a good cause in Music City, jamming together on a number of ZZ Top – and blues and soul – classics.

You can watch the two – along with Costello's long-serving band, the Imposters – tackle ZZ Top's slow-burning blues, Jesus Just Left Chicago, below.

Obviously, you'd expect to hear Gibbons break out some swaggering, Texas-sized blues phrases, but it's a treat to hear Costello – whose extensive, remarkably eclectic discography has traversed everything from punk to classical to country – explore his bluesier side; just listen to that vibrato!

Costello and Gibbons also ran through ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man, Thunderbird, and La Grange, with versions of Sam & Dave's I Thank You and Robert Johnson's Sweet Home Chicago thrown in for good measure.

Costello and the Imposters' presence added some muscle to the ZZ Top songs, which on record and onstage are typically one-guitar affairs. That, in turn, allowed Gibbons to engage in crowd-pleasing fretboard acrobatics like the one-handed soloing he employed for Sharp Dressed Man.

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It was recently announced that Gibbons would be on the bill at the two all-star Jeff Beck tribute concerts that are set to occur at London's Royal Albert Hall this May.

Led by Eric Clapton, the shows will also feature – in addition to Gibbons – Gary Clark Jr., Doyle Bramhall II, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, John McLaughlin, Robert Randolph and many more.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.