Escovedo at Knuckleheads Saloon,
Kansas City, Missouri, June 29, 2013
January 10, 1951 |
San Antonio, Texas, United States
|Genres||Alternative rock, alternative country, punk rock, cowpunk, heartland rock, chicano rock|
|Labels||Columbia, Vanguard Records, Birdman, Watermelon|
|Associated acts||The Nuns, Rank and File, the True Believers, Jon Dee Graham, the Sensitive Boys|
Alejandro Escovedo (born January 10, 1951, in San Antonio, Texas) is a Mexican-American rock musician, songwriter, and singer, who has been recording and touring since the early 1990s. His primary instrument is the guitar. He has played in various rock genres, including punk rock, roots rock and alternative country, and is most closely associated with the music scene in Austin, Texas. He comes from a well-known family of musicians.
The son of Mexican immigrants to Texas, Escovedo is from a family that includes several professional musicians, including his brothers (and percussionists) Coke Escovedo and Pete Escovedo, and Sheila E. (Pete's daughter and Alejandro's niece). Alejandro's brother Mario fronted the hard rock band the Dragons, and another brother, Javier, was in the punk rock band the Zeros.
Escovedo began performing in the first-wave punk rock group the Nuns, with Jennifer Miro and Jeff Olener, in San Francisco, California. After Escovedo's departure, the Nuns recorded an album for Posh Boy Records but had little commercial success.
In the 1980s Escovedo moved to Austin, Texas, where he adopted a roots rock/alternative country style in the bands Rank and File (with Chip and Tony Kinman) and the True Believers (with his brother Javier, Jon Dee Graham and the bass player Denny DeGorio). His first solo albums, Gravity and Thirteen Years, were released in 1992 and 1994, respectively.
In 1997, Escovedo collaborated with Ryan Adams and the band Whiskeytown in recording sessions for their album Strangers Almanac. He sings on "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight", "Dancing with the Women at the Bar", and "Not Home Anymore". As a salute to Escovedo, a cover of a True Believers song written by him is covered by Whiskeytown on the re-released Strangers Almanac (deluxe edition).
In 1998 No Depression magazine named him Artist of the Decade. Escovedo was also involved in a side project that represents his hard-rocking tastes. Buick MacKane released the album The Pawn Shop Years in 1997, hearkening back to his musical roots in the 1970s.
In 1999, Escovedo contributed to a tribute album to Skip Spence, a co-founder of Moby Grape, who was critically ill with cancer. The album, entitled More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album, was intended to raise funds to address Spence's medical bills. The title refers to Spence's only solo album, Oar (Columbia, 1969). On More Oar, Escovedo contributes his version of Spence's "Diana". The critic Rob Brunner commented, "The best contributions come from artists who realize that Spence's work is as much about atmosphere as words and chords. ...Alejandro Escovedo offers an appropriately bleary 'Diana', Spence's darkest song." (Birdman Records, 1999), was produced by Bill Bentley, a Warner Bros. Records executive and Austin-referenced music producer.
In 2003, after having lived with hepatitis C for many years, Escovedo collapsed onstage in Arizona as a result of the disease. In his long road to recovery, he faced substantial medical bills, which, lacking medical insurance, he could not pay. Friends and admirers around the country organized benefit shows to help him. This effort grew into the album Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo, a two-disc set whose proceeds benefit the Alejandro Escovedo Medical and Living Expense Fund. Contributing musicians included Steve Earle, Jon Dee Graham, Lucinda Williams, John Cale, Jennifer Warnes, Ian Hunter, the Jayhawks, Bob Neuwirth, Son Volt, and Escovedo's brothers Pete (with Pete's daughter, Sheila E.), Javier, and Mario (as a member of the Dragons).
In 2005, it became known that Escovedo's song "Castanets" was included on the iPod playlist of President George W. Bush. Upon learning this, Escovedo announced that he would not play the song again as long it was on Bush's iPod or until he was out of office. After two "Castanets"-free years, as Bush was nearing the end of his term, Escovedo lifted the moratorium and began performing the song again.
Boxing Mirror came out on May 2, 2006 and included many of the songs he had promoted with the Alejandro Escovedo String Quintet, including Jon Dee Graham. Escovedo went on a short tour with the Quintet, which included a date at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall in early December 2006.
In June 2010, Escovedo released Street Songs of Love, also produced by Visconti but released on a new label, featuring songs that were originally presented during "Sessions on South Congress" at the Continental Club in Austin, Texas with his band, the Sensitive Boys. After starting out writing about nothing in particular, the record “ended up being an album about love, the pursuit of a feeling that is forever elusive, mysterious, and addictive,” said Escovedo. A New York Times "critic's choice" review of Street Songs of Love claimed that, "In another, less fragmented pop era, this would be the album of thoughtful but radio-ready love songs to finally get Mr. Escovedo the big national audience he deserves." Nationally syndicated radio shows such as Little Steven Van Zandt's Underground Garage gave prominent attention to Escovedo and his album, continuing to play the song "Silver Cloud" in particular well into the following year.
In 2014, Escovedo appeared in the movie and contributed to the soundtrack of the movie Veronica Mars, singing an acoustic version of "We Used to Be Friends". Also that year, he co-produced and co-hosted the SXSW Tribute to Lou Reed with Richard Barone.  In 2016 Escovedo mentored the singer-songwriter Jeremy Nail and produced Nail's new record, "My Mountain".
In October 2016, Escovedo released the album Burn Something Beautiful, which had been recorded in April of that year with the Minus Five, in Portland, Oregon. In January 2017, Escovedo did a short tour supporting the album, backed by Minus Five members Scott McCaughey, Kurt Bloch, Peter Buck, John Moen, and sometimes Kelly Hogan, all of whom had performed on the album. All songs on Burn Something Beautiful were written by Escovedo, McCaughey, and Buck.
- Gravity (1992)
- Thirteen Years (1994)
- The End/Losing Your Touch (Maxi, 1994)
- With These Hands (1996)
- More Miles Than Money: Live 1994-1996 (1998)
- Bourbonitis Blues (1999)
- A Man Under the Influence (2001)
- By the Hand of the Father (2002)
- Room of Songs: Recorded live at the Cactus Cafe in Austin, TX on February 28 and March 1, 2005 (2005)
- The Boxing Mirror (2006)
- Real Animal (2008)
- Live Animal: Live EP (2009)
- Street Songs of Love (2010)
- Big Station (2012)
- Burn Something Beautiful (2016)
- More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album (Birdman, 1999)
- Hear Music Volume 7: Waking (2002, Hear Music) – "Wave"
- 107.1 KGSR Radio Austin – Broadcasts Vol. 10 (2002) – "Ballad of the Sun & the Moon"
- WYEP Live and Direct: Volume 4 – On Air Performances (2002) – "Rosalie"
- Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm (Vanguard, 2009)
- Metro: The Official Bootleg Series, Volume 1 2010
- Uncut Starman - A Tribute CD featuring various artists covering 18 songs of David Bowie (Uncut Magazine, 2003) - "All The Young Dudes"
- "Alejandro Escovedo: Healing Through Music". NPR. 2006-07-23. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
-  Archived March 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
- Brunner, Rob (1999-07-23). "More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album". EW.com. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
- Moser, Margaret (24 November 2006). "C Sick". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
- Petridis, Alexis (April 13, 2005). "Power Play". The Guardian. London. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
- Patton, Brad (16 April 2014). "Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys Rocks Kirby Lobby". The Times Leader. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- "Anchor". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2010-07-05.
- Pareles, Jon (July 4, 2010). "Straightforward, Straight-from-Texas Rock" New York Times.
- Escovedo, Alejandro (2016), Burn Something Beautiful, Fantasy Records and Concord Music Group
- Escovedo, Alejandro (2016). "Discography: Burn Something Beautiful". AlejandeoEscovedo.com. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- Kot, Greg (November 16, 2016). "Alejandro Escovedo: Rock Bottom, Then Rebirth". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- Gendron, Bob (January 27, 2017). "Alejandro Escovedo Brings Energy, Rawness to City Winery Set". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
- "New and Hot Video: Premiere: Alejandro Escovedo, 'Man of the World Live'". Rolling Stone. 2012-06-01. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- Alejandro Escovedo's website
- Posh Boy Records
- 5 Star review for The Boxing Mirror
- Alejandro Escovedo at NPR Music
- Alejandro Escovedo on Live Music Archive
- Alejandro Escovedo article at Herohill.com
- Alejandro Escovedo article at Harpmagazine.com
- Alejandro Escovedo article at Honesttune.com
- Alejandro Escovedo article at Browardpalmbeach.com
|AMA Lifetime Achievement Award for Performing