Career overview of Texas’ best-kept secret

Escovedo’s last album, 2010’s Street Songs Of Love, brought the San Antonio native ever closer to widespread acclaim, the studio savvy of Tony Visconti and Bob Clearmountain giving his music the radio-friendly sheen that might appeal to fans of Springsteen or Steve Earle. Now here’s a chance to investigate the choice cuts from his previous nine releases, a delicious stew of myriad Americana ingredients.
The no-nonsense rocking of Crooked Frame and With These Hands are among the most immediate and memorable tracks, but the more subdued inclusions (the country waltz of I Was Drunk, the separated loved ones lament Across The River) best showcase his storytelling powers; evocative scenarios rich in detail.
Elsewhere there are clues to his Tex-Mex upbringing. Hard Road is how Buddy Holly might have sounded if he’d lived to form a metal band, while a few others nod respectfully in the direction of the Sir Douglas Quintet’s loose-limbed cantina strutting. He’s more than just a product of his home state, though, as illustrated by the inventive segueing of his own Falling Down Again into Lou Reed’s urban opera Street Hassle.

Nascente | NSDCD 026 (2-CD)
Reviewed by Terry Staunton