By Henry Kaplan/Twangrila/November 6, 2016
65 year old Alejandro Escovedo has released his pièce de résistance with Burn Something Beautiful. It is rare that someone releases an absolute stunner on their 15th album, but that IS what happened. A true credit to Escovedo’s ability to keep learning and evolving as an artist. The son of Mexican immigrants, Escovedo is from a very well established musical family, including brothers Coke and Pete Escovedo, and niece Sheila E. Alejandro’s brother, Javier, was in the legendary punk band The Zeros. Alejandro cut his teeth in punk rock as well, performing with the San Francisco punk outfit The Nuns. Escovedo moved to Austin, Texas in the 80s where he developed a roots rock style that has served him well over the past 3 decades. He was named No Depression’s Artist of the Decade in 1998. Despite the family ties and accolades, Escovedo still remains virtually unknown outside of the Americana/roots rock/Austin realm. Hopefully, Burn Something Beautiful will change that.
The co-conspirators on this album are Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows) and Peter Buck (REM). Escovedo states the following about the creation of this album: “This is a true collaboration between Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck and myself, without whom this record would have never been made. We wrote the songs together, arranged them together and performed them together. They deserve much applause for their effort and dedication to this record.” Definitely some heavy hitters were involved in this project along with Alejandro himself. Whatever, the catalysts and stimuli were, it created a winning formula. Burn Something Beautiful will have staying power and should be remembered 20 years from now.