Alejandro Escovedo

Alejandro Escovedo

Alejandro Escovedo

Street Songs of Love

Fantasy Records

Alejandro Escovedo has been producing solid work for so long now — from the punk rock of The Nuns to stops in Rank & File and the True Believers, and his great run of solo work — that it is all too easy to see a new release from the Texas troubadour as just another great record in a long line of the same. And while this is true, it doesn’t make Street Songs of Love any less vital. Continuing with the cast that made 2008’s Real Animal such a success, collaborator and guitar slinger Chuck Prophet (Green on Red) and über-producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T Rex, and a million more), Escovedo lays his heart bare, served up by a red SG and a poet’s soul. Opening with the rousing “Anchor” (“I’m in love with love”), he makes this stuff sound effortless. The cut “Street Songs” bubbles with a New York City street keyboard riff and slashing guitar with Alejandro hanging back and spitting out wry observational verse. Ian Hunter joins on “Down in the Bowery,” a song about growing into yourself, written about Escovedo’s punk rock son, Paris. Bruce Springsteen adds fuel to “Faith,” but with a performer as strong as Alejandro, guest stars aren’t really necessary.

By the time the record ends with “Fort Worth Blue,” an instrumental nod to the late great Texas musician Stephen Bruton, you know you’ve been listening to something special. Alejandro Escovedo is a major American artist, of a sort rarely encountered anymore. Passionate, literate, a rocker who paints cinematic landscapes of word and sound, he stands alone.

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