Bill Thompson / Cincinnati Enquirer-USA Today Network / April 29, 2016
Alejandro Escovedo has spent the past couple of years careening between happiness and tragedy. When a person has packed as much living into 65 years as the Texas singer-songwriter has, acceptance is almost inevitable.
Escovedo returns to the Taft Theatre Ballroom Tuesday after finishing his first record in four years. But the thrill of making new music is tinged with sadness by the loss of David Bowie, Merle Haggard and Prince, legends whom he called friends.
The good times/bad times duality also intervened in his 2014 marriage to Nancy Rankin when the couple found themselves trapped in a category 4 hurricane in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula on their honeymoon.
“We actually called our children and her parents to tell them that we may not see them again,” Escovedo says. “It was that close. It was so intense.”
Events such as that put life in perspective. But they don’t erase shock.
“The loss of Bowie just hit me like it was a family member. It was just devastating,” says Escovedo, who has worked extensively with Tony Visconti, Bowie’s longtime producer. “It was the loss of everything he represented throughout my life.”
“And with Merle, it was devastating because we shared the same disease, hepatitis C. So that kind of worries me, but in the midst of this I’ve kicked hepatitis C. I’ve battled that disease for 25 years, so it’s quite a liberation for me.”
As for Prince, Escovedo mourns for his niece, Sheila E., who not only played in Prince’s band but was once engaged to him. “They were so close, I think that they always loved each other. It’s a great loss. To feel that, to share that with her, it’s pretty hard.”
Photo by Todd V Wolfson