Punk to alt-country to rock and roll isn’t the path most musicians take. But Alejandro Escovedo isn’t most musicians. He’s been making music for nearly 40 years, which is plenty of time for him to perfect his live act.
And yes, he got his start in the Northern California-based punk band The Nuns, but Escovedo is a Texas-native, and for the last couple of decades he’s stayed closer to his roots with compilations with everyone from The Rolling Stones to Whiskeytown. He kick started his corner of the alt-country revolution in the early ’90s and ’00s and has recently pivoted again, thanks to the influence of friends like friend Chuck Prophet and a new album produced by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, into the rock n’ roller we all knew he really was. He’s Iggy Pop meets Velvet Underground.
One thing has been true, throughout Escovedo’s storied career: Whether it’s the peppy opening bars of “Castanets” (with the zinger of a lyric, “I like her better when she walks away”) or the forlorn lyrics of “Pissed Off 2 AM,” a song about the destruction of a relationship because of the protagonist’s drinking, with lyrics “Why don’t we pretend/ It’s all we have between us/ The barricades and reasons/ They mean nothing to me now,” there’s really no doubt that Alejandro Escovedo is one hell of a songwriter.
His renaissance comes on the heels a couple near-death experiences (hepatitis, stuck in a hurricane on his honeymoon), and he’s found a new lease on life.
And while it’s true that Escovedo is in Salt Lake often (he says this is because of the Red Iguana), you don’t want to miss this show. It’s a rare all-seated State Room show, and as his latest album title suggests, perhaps he’ll Burn Something Beautiful.
Escovedo plays The State Room on Tuesday, November 7. Tickets available here.