One of my regrets on traveling to Austin, Texas, for the first time in 1993 was not seeing Alejandro Escovedo live at Antone’s, where he was the top attraction during the annual Alt-Weekly Convention. Escovedo, who has been the toast of the town there for decades, garnered critical acclaim well beyond Austin’s city limits from other musicians and critics, but still remains criminally under the radar for most people.
Escovedo’s newest release, Street Songs of Love, continues a newer, healthier direction which began after he survived a near-fatal bout with hepatitis C in 2006. Not unlike his previous release, Real Animal, which showed he still had some serious rocking to do, Street Songs pairs him again with songwriting partner Chuck Prophet. The results are considerable, and this time, instead of writing personal songs about himself, he chooses to deliver a more accessible package of love songs, and in the process invited a few guest contributors, including Bruce Springsteen and Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople).
At this point, it doesn’t really matter whether everyone gets this music; the number of dedicated fans will remain strong based on Escovedo’s previous masterpieces anyway, but it’s nice to hear him contribute to his impressive catalog with another great record.