Unless we turn to his Amerindian traits, or to the depth of a song that goes back to the seventies, it is hard to understand why Alejandro Escovedo is not a more recognized figure. He has counted with illustrious producers (John Cale, Tony Visconti) and the same Springsteen, with whom he shared representative, admires him. Undoubtedly, he is wanted: in 2003, when hepatitis C gave him an ultimatum, an album of his songs performed by like-minded artists supported the treatment that saved his life. Lucinda Williams or Steve Earle, among others, got wet by whoever had touched them deep inside. '' There are the authors who sing their songs, and then there are the songs that they sing to their authors '', defines Lenny Kaye, also present in that emergency tribute.
Artist: Alejandro Escovedo
Disk: The Crossing
Seal: Yep Roc-Popstock!
Rating: 7 out of 10
Alejandro Escovedo was the seventh of 12 brothers in a family of musicians, children of a Mexican immigrant who suffered racial discrimination despite having served in the Second World War. In California, he participates in the emerging punk scene by playing the guitar with The Nuns. In New York, he attends the foundation of Rank & File, a band that in the eighties claims the roots of American music. Tracing his ancestral origins he finally settles in Austin, where he tries again with True Believers. He will not decide to record albums under his name until the nineties, works of vibrant rock roots whose songs spiced with frontier flavors and that ungraspable sadness that the damn Townes Van Zandt gave off.
His twelfth studio work tells the story of two young immigrants who, in an America that is "sick" and unrecognizable as a promised land, seek an answer to their identity confusion in the punk culture. Recorded in Italy with the help in composition and arrangements of the local band Don Antonio, The Crossing runs like an epic of very broad horizons to reconcile the inheritance of blood –Texas is my Mother, Christmas River or that Outlaw for You of accents tex-mex– with the punch of the most courageous rock. He is backed by historic guitarists: James Williamson of Stooges in Teenage luggage, Wayne Kramer of MC5 in Sonica USA And his proven melodic intuition balances both aspects in Something Blue, or in the duet with Briton Peter Perrett Waiting for me
Escovedo knows what he is talking about: he has experienced the humiliation of being forced to enter a club where he performed through the back door, because at the entrance they confused him with another Chicano dishwasher. But these songs refuse to let resentment win the game. The firm who has felt that trivial racism that is suffered in silence. Someone willing to pay off their debts, as in Joe Ely's ballads, Silver City and the final The Crossing, interpreted with the legendary Texan singer-songwriter. An hour of touching humanity, shorn but fighter, interwoven by tunes and stories that testify to what they lived, and live, their brothers of race. I could not arrive at a more opportune moment.