By Raoul Hernandez/Austin Chronicle/December 1, 2016 – Once Austin housed a guitar SWAT team called the True Believers – Lynyrd Skynyrd run by Mexicans as born out of Andy Warhol’s Factory. Lou Reed, David Bowie, only roots huffing, Americana glam. At the final taping of Austin City Limits’ 42nd season, Alejandro Escovedo once again commanded a three-axe assault, the volume dialed to 11 and heart set on burst.

Five live: (l-r) Scott McCaughey, Kurt Bloch, John Moen, Escovedo, and Peter Buck (Photo by Scott Newton Courtesy of KLRU-TV)

Son of Texas – San Antonio – spawn of Austin (1981-2015), the longtime local hero packed up for Dallas last year when a sentry at the city limits nodded off. Willie Nelson spends more time on Maui than in his home state probably, but Escovedo’s exit still stung – like one of our unicorns got out. Cough and you missed it, but six cuts into his 75-minute ACL Live at the Moody Theater whoop, the bandleader of six projected his greeting, and swallowed his own answer in a hiccup of emotion.

“How we doing tonight?” he greeted the full house, then got distracted by his guitar and almost inaudibly added, “So good to be home.”

Relief caught in his throat.

Having just finished off “Suit of Lights” from new album Burn Something Beautiful – 12 of its 14 songs recorded last night – the consolation was all ours. The song’s Sticky Fingers Stones vibe, Escovedo’s rich acoustic guitar rhythm egging on longtime Neko Case consort and siren in her own right Kelly Hogan, cut the haze of electric guitars before it. Go-to Escovedo backup Karla Manzur, in tandem with Hogan, and Decemberists drummer John Moen completed the tactical rock squad.

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