Escovedo dishes it out in style(s)
Lilli's, Somerville, Mass., May 13, 2001
By Jeffrey B. Remz
SOMERVILLE, MA. - Alejandro Escovedo has been around for years with such bands as Rank & File, a fine country band from the early '80's to his own band the True Believers, which suffered from bad and then on his own in a solo career that has won him much praise and acclaim, though not a huge presence commercially.
Escovedo has released about half a dozen solo albums, including a fine recent addition, "A Man Under the Influence," his third on Bloodshot.
And the Austin-based artist showed in concert before an appreciative crowd of several hundred that he has a lot of strong material to depend upon.
Escovedo started with the lead-off of the new disc, "Waves," a song about the journey of his father who left Mexico for the U.S. The song, about finding direction, was well delivered.
Escovedo, who didn't write his first song until he was 30, mixed it up between country, blues, rock and roots music. He moved easily between the various genres, though a few times may have been guilty of stretching out the songs a tad too much.
His backing band was a sturdy especially with Paul Brainard on pedal steel and occasional horns. His pedal played a prominent role throughout, often adding a rootsy or country semblance to the songs.
While his songs communicative much to the crowd, Escovedo also did a good job connecting with the audience in his comments explaining songs or joking around.
Escovedo may never get beyond cult status, but that is well deserved.
Tim Easton, also offering diverse musical styles of roots and country. opened the show with a good 40-minute set showing improving from his Boston debut earlier this year.