July 22, 2010

Week 46: Alejandro Escovedo - Street Songs of Love

“I hope you live long enough to forget half the things they taught you / When it’s all said and done I hope you’ve got your own set of rules to hang on to.” – Down In The Bowery

Alejandro Escovedo
Street Songs of Love

Released on June 29,  Alejandro Escovedo’s new offering is everything a fan could hope for and much more. Twelve fantastic Escovedo-penned tracks with that signature Tom Petty-meets-Ray Wylie Hubbard feel to it. It’s rock and roll with a punk vibe to it.

Austinites may already be familiar with these tunes, as Escovedo and his band The Sensitive Boys worked them out during a two-month residency at Continental Club in late 2009.

He has been touted as one of music’s “best kept secrets.” I always thought that was a foolish phrase. Nobody wants to be a musical secret.  There are no secrets, just bands you’ve not been introduced to as of yet. Escovedo is ten albums deep into his career that has spanned 40 years. Those who know good music know him.  Be it from his family lineage (he’s Uncle to Sheila E. and brothers Coke and Pete are amazing percussionists), his previous bands The Nuns (1970s), Rank and File (1980s), or the fact that in 1998 he was named “artist of the decade” in No Depression magazine. If you’ve never heard of him, consider this review to be an open invitation. 

Best-kept-secrets aside, Escovedo is well known and respected in the music community. This becomes pretty apparent when considering the guest vocalists on Street Songs of Love. The Boss himself (Bruce Springsteen) lends vocals on the fun jam “Faith.” Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople) helps with powerful love song “Down In The Bowery.” He also taps local up-and-comer Nakia Reynoso to do some background vocals.

Street Songs of Love begins with “Anchor,” a catchy love song with a nice chugga-chugga rhythem to it. “This Bed is Getting Crowded” is an in-your-face infidelity song.  The title track is probably my favorite song lyrically. The aforementioned “Down In The Bowery” sounds like the Rolling Stones could have cut it.  The trippy “Tula” has a snakelike charm to it. The album ends with a wonderful instrumental entitled “Fort Worth Blue.”

The track that really caught my ear is “Tender Heart.”  The lyrics are infectious and the music hit me like the first time I heard “Everybody Wants You” by Billy Squier. “I got a tender heart / you want my tender heart? / I got nothing you need / and everything you want.”  Incidentally, upon first listen, when this song came on my three year-old yelled from the back seat “Turn it up, this is my favorite song.”

If you don’t listen to me, listen to my daughter… she knows good music.

You can pick up Street Songs of Love pretty much anywhere in the world but it you go to his Website you can pick up a digital version plus physical CD for just $13.99.  Learn more about Alejandro Escovedo at http://www.alejandroescovedo.com/.

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