Monday, February 11, 2013

If there is one name that comes to mind when the words Austin and music are mentioned inthe same breath, it’s the Redheaded Stranger his ownself, the one and only, Willie Nelson.  But lining up right behind our pony-tailed favorite son, is a guy who, though not nearly as well known nationwide, commands respect and admiration from fans and critics alike for a brilliant career that spans four decades.  And like Willie, in his adopted hometown, his first name is all you need to know.

Mention to any dyed-in-the-wool Austin music fan that Alejandro has a gig and there’s no doubt who’ll be taking the stage.  Alejandro Escovedo is the preeminent face of Austin rock ‘n’ roll.  As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, Alejandro’s track record for making cutting-edge, relevant, inspiring music is acknowledged well beyond Austin city limits and the Lone Start State.  Hailing from a family of professional musicians, which includes Prince protégé Sheila E, music is part of his DNA.  Beginning in his teen years in Southern California with the influential punk rock band The Nuns, through years with cow-punk outfit Rank and File, and Austin legends the True Believers, Alejandro has distinguished himself as a gifted tunesmith and performer. 

But it wasn’t until he began his solo career in 1992 with the release of the album Gravity that he began to zero in on his own distinctive and formidable musical vision.  In 1998, the influential alternative music publication No Depression named him Artist of the Decade.  In the following decade and a half, Alejandro released eight critically acclaimed studio album, adding to his glowing reputation.  Reviewing Big Station, his most recent effort, critic Holly Gleason writes in Paste Magazine: “Like Tom Waits, who also goes fishing in the gutter, Escovedo sees the romance of the underbelly and writes with compassion—but also the clarity of having lived it, seen it, touched it, breathed it”.

But, for all the acclaim he has garnered from his recorded work, it is the magic he produces on stage that fuels the passion of his devoted fans. And there is no better place to catch him than at The Continental Club, the south Austin joint where Alejandro has been known for years to test drive works in progress.  When the time comes, and with little fanfare, he will book one night a week for a month or two to spit shine material slated for his next record. Catching him during one of his extended runs at the Continental is a no-brainer for anyone looking to experience the real deal in Austin.  

And as it would happen, the time has come once again.  Starting this month, Alejandro and his band, the Sensitive Boys, take the stage at 10PM every Tuesday night. Even within a scene as overflowing with delectable options, Alejandro stands out at the Continental.  Don’t miss it!  

Photos via Flickr CC, courtesy of thomascrenshaw and Dean Zobec

Pat Cosgrove considers himself Austin's quintessential live-music fan.  He can be foundcatching shows several nights a week at venues such as the continental Gallery and the White Horse Saloon, to name a few.  He is constantly searching for the next hot, under-the-radar act and coolest new live-music joints.  He is also a world traveler, a tequila drinker and a dancing fool.  If you see him out on the town, don't hesitate to say howdy.