Austin Chronicle/ Tim Stegall/January 8, 2016
“I’ve been living in Dallas two or three months now,” remarks Alejandro Escovedo, after attending the Dec. 17 memorial service of his mother, Cleo Evita Escovedo, aged 94. “[Wife Nancy and I] still have a place in Austin, but we’re looking to relocate somewhere. We’re not sure. We’ve got so much family here, it’s hard to leave the state.
“But a lot has happened, some personal,” he continues. “I thought of Austin as a place I’d always land softly. I didn’t think I’d ever leave, but a lot of things changed after the hurricane [revisit “Alejandro Escovedo’s Hurricane Honeymoon,” Sept. 23, 2014]. My life and needs changed. Everything’s scaled down now. I don’t have a band anymore. I play with different musicians, I do duets, solo stuff.”
“A Thousand Kisses Deep: The Leonard Cohen Influence” boasts Escovedo celebrating the Canadian poet with his annual birthday show at the Moody Theater. This year’s cast includes Elias Haslanger and members of his top-flight jazz combo, Church on Monday; augmented by guitarist/Cohen sideman Mitch Watkins, singers Julie Christensen (another Cohen collaborator) and Karla Manzur, a nine-gal choir whose ages range from 5 to 16, cellists Matt Fish and Brian Standefer, plus actors Robert Patrick reading Cohen’s work and Rafael Childress reciting from Escovedo’s 2002 musical play, By the Hand of the Father.
“This is about the effect Leonard had as a writer,” explains Escovedo, “as a man of poetry and novels, as an award-winning poet in Canada. He never dreamed of becoming a pop singer. That’s what I think he has brought more than anyone. I can’t think of anyone who has done what he’s done.
“What’s so attractive for me is his romanticism, his sensuality. Obviously his poetry and his stance and his style as well. His is just a very unique presentation. No one else does that.”