Jun 292010

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Alejandro Escovedo has been recording great rock and roll for decades, but his profile has never been higher. This is largely the result of two things: Hepatitis C and Bruce Springsteen.

Say what? Let’s take them one at a time. Escovedo came down with a severe form of Hepatitis C a few years back. Like many musicians, he did not have insurance for his mounting medical bills. Unlike many musicians, he had friends and admirers in folks like Steve Earle, Los Lonely Boys, and Son Volt. They came together an all-star Americana tribute album, raising money for Escovedo and turning fans onto the Texas songwriter in the process. Thanks in part to that effort, Escovedo is now disease-free.

Then, in 2008 Bruce Springsteen brought him on stage for an Austin show. Springsteen’s guests usually help on “Thunder Road” or “Glory Days” or something, but the E Street Band played Escovedo’s own “Always a Friend,” then sold that performance on iTunes. Watching Escovedo’s excitement will give you a warm fuzzy feeling. Incidentally, the Boss appears on Escovedo’s latest album Street Songs of Love (in stores today) to duet on “Faith.”

Escovedo peppers his live sets with covers. The first time I saw him live he blew the encore apart with “All the Young Dudes” and “Beast of Burden” (listen to that show at archive.org). The “Dudes” cover, which we’ve got below, is particularly notable since Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter also appears on Street Songs (Hunter also covered “One More Time” for the tribute album). To mix things up though, we’ve got a different Rolling Stones cover: the Sticky Fingers slow jam “Sway.”

Let’s see, what else. Escovedo puts his rock foot forward for fellow Texan Doug Sahm in a version of “Too Little Too Late” off the tribute album we named a Best Cover Album of 2009. His recent version of Peter Case’s “Two Angels” hits just the opposite note, showing that the man knows how to put across a basic acoustic cover. Oh, and like any musician who wants to be taken seriously, he’s covered Dylan.

Check out five covers below, then go pick up Street Songs of Love, in stores now.

Alejandro Escovedo – Two Angels (Peter Case cover)

Alejandro Escovedo – Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Bob Dylan cover)

Alejandro Escovedo – Sway (The Rolling Stones cover)

Alejandro Escovedo – Too Little, Too Late (Doug Sahm cover)

Alejandro Escovedo – All the Young Dudes (Mott the Hoople cover)

Check out more Alejandro Escovedo at his website or MySpace.

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  3 Responses to “In the Spotlight: Alejandro Escovedo”

Comments (3)
  1. Many thanks for the AE covers. Great

  2. Thanks, that Peter Case cover is excellent!
    My personal Top Three of AE covers:

    1. Amsterdam (John Cale)
    2. Evening gown (Mick Jagger, yes, there was a decent song on one of Jagger’s solo albums, and AE did find it!)
    3. Sex Beat (Gun Club)

  3. For me it’s his “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, DRIPPING with both cello and coiled energy.

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