Rarely are there musicians that grab me the way Alejandro Escovedo does. Sometimes rough around the edges, then smooth as glass the next, it's hard to name others whose songwriting can be as real as an Escovedo song.
Far from most mainstream music scenes and clamoring concert crowds, Escovedo has successfully remained true to self, a demigod among songwriters, punks and audiophiles. He's collaborated throughout the last 20 years with more than one or two impressive names, so it was no surprise when No Depression magazine named him Artist of the Decade in 1998.
Even from his earliest memories, Escovedo has been immersed in music. He was surrounded by music growing up, with several family members who are also musicians, including brothers Pete and Coke Escovedo, both successful percussionists, his niece Shelia E. – yes THAT Shelia E. – and brothers Mario and Javier, founding members of The Dragons and The Zeros, respectively.
With a house full of musicians, the '70s found him searching for his own musical path. He landed smack-dab in the middle of the first wave – from San Antonio to the punk scene in San Francisco.
After several years cutting his teeth and sharpening his writing and strumming skills playing with The Nuns, he migrated back towards Texas to the musical haven that is Austin.
In Austin, Escovedo's singular style began to flourish. His move away from punk kick started him into finding his own place as a musician. He spent some time playing with Rank and File and The True Believers, with whom his brother Javier also played, and his sound started evolving.
Even though his music had become more roots rock-slash-alt-country by the time his first solo albums were released in 1992 and 1994, you could hear that he still clung tightly to his punk beginnings. Instead of discarding it completely, he forged it together with what had become his true voice.
Since then, Escovedo has continued to create near-flawless recordings.
His new album "Big Station," which came out this summer, exceeds expectations, matching well with a back catalog as expansive and diverse as the Texas landscape he calls home.
From heavy bass lines to hand claps, "Big Station," his second album written with his pal Chuck Prophet, oozes Escovedo's musical beginnings. Hardhitting hooks and punk attitudes contrast with poignant, heartbreaking lyrics never letting the listener question that Escovedo's quintessential style and sound is still tethered safely within.
Finally gaining some of the limelight that many critics feel he's deserved for years, Escovedo's time is here. And listening to him talk about his life and his music, he's spent his whole life preparing for it.
Alejandro Escovedo and his Sensitive Boys are currently on tour supporting "Big Station."
Check out his site and look for tour dates close to you at alejandroescovedo.com.
Twinkle VanWinkle ponders, creates and discovers cool stuff about music, movies, food, fashion and so forth. Her thoughtful writings and interactives give great advice about healthy food, cooking tips, DIY projects, fashion and more. She'll teach you a thing or two about music as well. Along with producing dynamic entertainment content for LIN Media, she is a mother, musician and social media fanatic.
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