Musician Alejandro Escovedo has ‘lived through it all’

Houston Chronicle/Andrew Dansby/April 21, 2017

New album ‘Burn Something Beautiful’ works through fears from musician’s illness, storm

When Alejandro Escovedo was a boy in San Antonio, his parents had him pack for a vacation to Southern California.

They didn’t tell him the vacation was permanent.

Belongings, friends and pets were left behind. He says he’s asked his parents about what happened that forced the move. He received different answers at different times.

“I just accepted it as the way it was,” Escovedo says. “So my life began with movement, and it’s been a steady part of my life since. My life became more about wandering.”

 The son of a mariachi musician who became a plumber, Escovedo was drawn to music. But where his brothers Pete and Coke would stay in California and join Carlos Santana’s band, Escovedo further wandered until he was back where he started, in Texas.

He’s now 66, and a survivor several times over. Escovedo has seen plenty of his ’70s and ’80s peers pass on, especially recently. He’s had marriages end in divorce and suicide. Hepatitis C ravaged his body and nearly killed him in 2002. In 2014, he and his wife were honeymooning on the Baja Peninsula when Hurricane Odile hit. They made farewell calls to loved ones. They skirted through and survived, but post-traumatic stress disorder from enduring the storm created all manner of problems, including stage anxiety.

So Escovedo, who had spent his entire adult life playing music, was suddenly unable to make a living the only way he knew how.

This is all to say the wrenching details and bruised sense of resilience that run through Escovedo’s new album, “Burn Something Beautiful,” do not sound like distant observations. Escovedo doesn’t use the phrase “bucket of blood” for alliteration but rather to emphasize the heaving effect a virus had on his liver.

“It grosses some people out,” he says. “But it’s what happened.”

So when Escovedo sings, “I got the Sunday morning feeling in the middle of Saturday night,” he’s referencing his now and his then.

“I’m constantly aware of this feeling that I may not have time to accomplish anything more before I’m done,” Escovedo says. “I’m very aware that life is a short movie.”

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