Alejandro Escovedo’s career has been a successful one, but the acclaim — and public support — for him has come slowly, without any one major hit.
If anything, at age 59 his following is still growing as he finds his groove as an Austin-based Roots musician capable of explosively rockin’ out one minute and writing a doleful, tuneful string-accompanied romantic ballad the next. His local appearance Friday — with his four-piece band (including himself on guitar), The Sensitive Boys — will feature songs from his upcoming solo album, his 10th, called Street Songs of Love. Like 2008’s Real Animal, it was recorded in Lexington with Tony Visconti producing and with Chuck Prophet helping out with songwriting.
“The record is basically a straight-ahead Rock & Roll record with two guitars, bass and drums, some keyboards, and I substituted two vocalists instead of the (previous) string section,” Escovedo says during a telephone interview.
Raised in Texas, Escovedo comes from a musical — brothers Pete and Coke are noted percussionists. But he was drawn to Punk, choosing to play with The Nuns in San Francisco. After moving to Austin in the 1980s, he became involved in nascent post-Punk Country Rock, with bands Rank and File and The True Believers.
Considered a Texas music hero, but little known outside, he started releasing solo records in the 1990s in a bid to develop a following. His reputation grew as AltCountry caught on; his 2001 album A Man Under the Influence wound up on many Top 10 lists. After a long setback due to Hepatitis C in 2003, Escovedo came back feeling strong and ready to make music again — he is now managed by Jon Landau’s company (that’s Bruce Springsteen’s legendary manager) and performed at the 2008 Democratic Convention.
“The gigs have become better and I’m enjoying myself even more than when I first started playing,” Escovedo says.
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