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Alejandro Escovedo Resonates in Return to Music City

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Alejandro Escovedo performed at the CMA Theater on Friday, May 03, 2024 in Nashville, Tennessee. The show was one of many stops for Alejandro who is scheduled to be on the road for the next few months including a number of gigs supporting Jason Isbell.

Alejandro's quartet performed a trio of songs off stage in the audience.

Musician Alejandro Escovedo has a diverse background and body of work. In the 1970's, Escovedo started out in punk with The Nuns, moving to roots rock (True Believers) and later alt-country (Rank & File). With all those varied experiences, Alejandro launched a solo career that led to opportunities to work with Tony Visconti, John Cale, Bruce Springsteen and more. Escovedo's eclectic style continued to evolve with some albums reflecting his rock & roll interests countered by say La Cruzada (2021) - a Spanish speaking record exploring the immigrant experience.

In 2021, Alejandro was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame as he is closely associated with the artistic scene in Texas. But, he is also connected to San Francisco and New York as well. Escovedo comes from a family of musicians. All of these assorted elements are reflected in songs that have swagger along with soul bearing prose as reflected in Alejandro's set at the CMA Theater. On Friday, he was fronting a four-piece and they opened with a triple play of heavy rockers - "John Conquest", "Sacramento and Polk" and "Bury Me". "Sensitive Boys" was also a standout during their diverse show.

Alejandro Escovedo resonated with new songs and old in Music City.

Taking advantage of the fine acoustics of the room the quartet went into the crowd for a beautiful "Something Blue" followed by "San Antionio Rain" that included some commentary from Escovedo as he talked about his family moving from Texas to California. That tune was dedicated to his supportive brother Manuel who recently passed away. Alejandro also informed us that he was one of twelve children, with eight of them becoming musicians. The last acoustic song off stage was a moving "I Wish I Was Your Mother" (Mott the Hoople cover).

They plugged back in for some of Escovedo's best known songs such as the daring "Dear Head on the Wall", "Sally Was a Cop", the catchy "Castanuelas/Castanets" and "Too Many Tears". The encore included engaging versions of "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" (Mickey Newbury cover) and Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" with stormy guitar exchanges to conclude a quality night of music on a soaring note.

The CMA Theater was the place to be on a very busy night in Nashville.

Opening for Alejandro was his guitar player James Mastro. James is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer-songwriter who has worked with an impressive list of artists including Judy Collins, Ian Hunter, Patti Smith and Robert Plant. In the 1980's, he was in The Bongos - a power pop band who are credited with advancing the alternative rock movement.

Mastro's latest album Dawn of a New Error runs the range from otherworldly to retro-rock. James mentioned that both he and Alejandro had new records out with praise for Escovedo's latest platter the retrospective Echo Dancing. James presented music from his past and present which included the compelling "Right Words, Wrong Song". We also appreciated the solid songcraft and sturdy strumming in a song about a hitchhiker running away from the circus. On his own and with Alejandro Mastro was striking.

The CMA Theater in Nashville is a state-of-the-art venue centrally located downtown. This intimate room has lighting designed by FDA and sound by Akustiks both respected for their work in concert halls. CMA hosts a wide range of artists such as Alejandro Escovedo. So, please check-out their website for upcoming concerts.

Opener James Mastro - formerly of The Bongos - was a maestro in his own right.

Related Links: For more information on ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Alejandro Escovedo | James Mastro | CMA Theater | Alejandro Escovedo Crosses Borders at the City Winery in Nashville


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