Alejandro Escovedo In Madison Tonight: This Wild Rocker Has A Softer Side

Alejandro Escovedo

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Alejandro Escovedo. I’ve written about Alejandro before here on this very blog. I never tire from listening to Al’s music, and his albums are always within my reach. Right now I’m listening to an advance copy of Big Station, his new record due out on June 5. The songs on Big Station are of a piece with his last two releases, 2010’s Street Songs Of Love, and 2008’s Real Animal, in that Al is holding dear to his rocking roots and keeping up his songwriting collaboration with the great Chuck Prophet (who will be in Madison himself for a show at the East Side Club on July 5.  Get tickets here.)

The atmospheric ballads and Velvet Underground-influenced orchestral arrangements featured in Al’s music from the early 90’s to the mid-2000’s have given way to a sound more in keeping with early Tom Petty. There are more straight-up rockers, with the lead cut on the new record, “Man Of The World,” kicking up dust and reaching further back, paying homage to the early radio rock of the late 50’s and early 60’s.

It’s a fleshed-out sound from an artist who is quite versatile in his craft. I was a big fan of the orchestral sound Alejandro perfected on his early solo releases from the 90’s, but at heart, Alejandro has always been a rocker. His first band, The Nuns, were part of the first-wave punk scene, and even when Al would go out with a cellist and violinist at the start of his solo career, his signature song from that era was his wild all-out version of Iggy Pop’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

But Al’s show on Sunday, tonight, at the High Noon Saloon will be as a 2-piece, not a full-band show with his band of late, The Sensitive Boys. It seems like that format will not be ideal to showcase all of his new material, some of which makes you want to get up and dance and scream and shout. But there are some quieter numbers, like “San Antonio Rain,” a lovely ballad that speaks of deep, almost spiritual longing:

The last thing I need is something to dull my pain,

I’d walk from here to San Antonio to feel the cool tongue of the rain.

But the rain ain’t gonna come, the rain don’t wanna come.

One new song I expect we might hear is “Never Stood A Chance,” a moody number which sounds much like a cut from one of Al’s early solo records, and should work well in a quieter setting:

Sing me to sleep like an angel,

A sordid kiss and a blue guitar.

The world’s a big and crazy lover

So let’s just dance here where we are

The closing number on the new album, “Sabor A Mi,” is a traditional Mexican ballad, which should also work in the cabaret setting we have planned for High Noon. We will have a limited number of chairs set up for those who arrive early for what should be a tremendous concert.

Tonight’s show starts at 8pm with a set by Al’s guitarist, Jimmy Griffin. Hope you can make it.  Tickets are still available here and at the door.

 –Tag Evers

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Related Content:  Reflections On An Artist: Alejandro Escovedo

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