Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 63 - Alejandro Escovedo

Yesterday we told you about the XPoNential Fest in Camden,NJ and picked our highlights for the three day AAA gathering of greybeards and aspiring greybeards. Well the early (and I imagine post-fest) pick for the undisputed champ is Alejandro Escovedo, who six months shy of sixty, burns with the fire of a man half his age.

He has survived punk rock (the Nuns), alternative country (Rank And File), glam-roots-rock (True Believers), hard rock (Buick MacKane) and even a critical bout with Hepatitis C, but it's his solo records starting with 1992's Gravity that have made him one the most revered artists of the last two decades.

Maybe because he's never come close to anything resembling mass market success, Alejandro Escovedo is still making records filled with passion, rage, anger, tenderness and an unquenched hunger for the truth. He is nowhere near that soft white overbelly most legacy artists settle for once they get past their first taste of success.

His new album, Street Songs of Love, is filled, quite simply, with songs of love from the street, a rare case of truth in packaging. And according to his 18 year old rebel-punk-graffiti artist son, it's filled with "old music for old people". Alejandro took that shot as a compliment that he had instilled in his son a healthy distaste for the status quo. That uncompromising spirit is captured poignantly ("I hope you live long enough to forget half the stuff they taught you") and proudly ("I want to see you out on the street making a scene for everybody") on the set's highlight "Down in The Bowery", but ultimately looks to the kid to tear it all down and build it back up his way.

The show opened and closed with songs Escovedo has performed on record with Bruce Springsteen - "Always A Friend" from 2008's Real Animal and the blistering encore "Faith" from his new record. Like Springsteen, Escovedo operates a false move free environment, with uncommon grace and dignity, an artist whose career by sales standards may seem slight, but whose creative output ranks among the best of the last 30 years.

Go see him while you still can.
Alejandro Escovedo - "Down In The Bowery" (from Street Songs of Love)

No comments: