Escovedo’s biography and body of work are too prolific to detail here. But if you’re looking for a place to start, alt-country bible No Depression named Escovedo its “Artist of the Decade,” which is quite an honor considering the genre’s growth and the artists it spawned.
Regardless, I was taken aback the first (and only) time I saw him live, close to 10 years ago at a club in Tempe on a bill with Richard Buckner. There are shows you leave and think, “Huh. That was good, I had fun.” Then there are shows that just leave you emotionally charged and drained at the same time. Escovedo’s performance definitely fits the latter category.
If he comes to your city, you would do well to see him. In April 2003, he collapsed after a performance in Phoenix and was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver caused by hepatitis C. His illness brought musicians together for benefit concerts and the fantastic double CD Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo, which includes covers by artists like Calexico, the Jayhawks and Son Volt (to name only a few). Proceeds helped pay Escovedo’s mounting medical bills.
This Washington Post story details Escovedo’s battles with his illness and the medicine and how he found his way back to music.
He’s playing Continental Club in Austin on Saturday night after all the ACL festivities, and as I write this I’m leaning more and more toward wanting to see that show.
Alejandro Escovedo | I Was Drunk
Alejandro Escovedo | As I Fall BONUS
Alejandro Escovedo | Wave
Calexico | Wave