Alejandro Escovedo

Alejandro Escovedo may not be a household name but he should be, by god. The Austin-based musician has been in the thick of the music scene for over three decades. He opened for the Sex Pistols’ last gig in Jan. ’78 with his own early punk band The Nuns, watched his neighbor Sid Vicious’ girlfriend get wheeled out of the Chelsea Hotel in NYC dead as a doornail, but, much more importantly, has consistently been putting out one album after another of his own challenging, ever-evolving and often life affirming rock & roll since the early ‘90s.

Alejandro’s latest masterpiece “Real Animal,” helmed by famed producer Tony Visconti, not only touches on these attributes, but also, looks back at his past with a crystalline vision and channels it into one of his most aggressive and potent albums in years. After practically grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory – after nearly succumbing to a fatal bout of Hepatitis C a few years ago – “Real Animal” finds Escovedo snatching that jawbone and smashing it to a pulp as he summons up many of the influences of his past, such as the raw power of Iggy & The Stooges, David Bowie at his edgiest and, more indirectly, a bit of the swaggering glam of Roxy Music and T. Rex.

Since Alejando’s tight schedule wouldn’t allow for a proper Basement Tapes session at our Woodland Audio studios, we decided to bring the mountain to Milwaukee, where he and his band offered us four jaw-dropping numbers (and I use that term very sparingly) that touched on his new record (the snotty punk of “Chelsea Hotel ‘78” as well as “Always A Friend,” an instant classic that already sounds like it could join the ranks of the best no-frills rock & roll standards this side of Petty or Springsteen). He also delivered a lively rendition of the opening track from his 2003 effort “With These Hands” (“Put You Down”) along with the hypnotizing “Everybody Loves Me,” from his 1999 Bloodshot Records release “Bourbonitis Blues,” where Alejandro locked into a tightly-knit threesome with violinist Susan Voelz and cellist Brian Standefer. It was at this point that the three sounded as if they were exorcising some sort of demonic force as they traded otherworldly howls and piercing strings amid the rhythm section’s primordial stomp.

While these four numbers are but a snapshot of Alejandro and his vast career, it’s a perfect summation of where this 57-year old artist is at now… and with a vital sound that reflects on his youth – only through more knowing and mature eyes – the following tracks from this remarkable live remote session are definitely four snapshots to cherish.

Tony Bonyata

LISTEN TO THE SESSION

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Alejandro Escovedo – Always A Friend [download]
Alejandro Escovedo – Put You Down [download]
Alejandro Escovedo – Chelsea Hotel ‘78 [download]
Alejandro Escovedo – Everybody Loves Me [download]

 

VIDEO: Alejandro Escovedo performing “Everybody Loves Me”

VIDEO: Alejandro Escovedo exclusive Basement Tapes interview

 

PHOTO GALLERY

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For more info on Alejandro Escovedo and to purchase his CDs, vinyl LPs and more go to:
http://www.alejandroescovedo.com

This Basement Tapes remote session was recorded live at Summerfest at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage in Milwaukee, WI. Engineered by Gordon Rinda. Video by Gordon Rinda and Dan Bowman. Photographs by Phil Bonyata. Additional technical assistance by Dennis Martin.
 
Special thanks to Lindsay Evans at Summerfest for her help in coordinating this session.

For more info on Woodland Audio/Video go to:
http://www.woodlandaudio.com/

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