I’m new to Alejandro Escovedo’s music, but I’ve been familiar with him for years, as a much-respected roots rock singer/songwriter with a huge underground following. Not to mention he’s Sheila E.’s uncle (Sheila’s dad, Pete, is his brother). But I’ve never delved into the music until now. My loss, I know.
Real Animal is Alejandro’s eighth studio album since his acclaimed 1992 debut, Gravity. Prior to that, Alejandro was in San Francisco punk band The Nuns. After a move to Austin, he formed bands Rank and File and True Believers. But it’s his solo work that has garnered the respect of people from Springsteen to Lucinda Williams to Steve Earle.
So my first impressions of the album are very positive. I tend to gravitate toward the slower songs like “Swallows of San Juan”, “Sensitive Boys”, “Hollywood Hills”, and the beautiful “Slow Down”.
the past is gone
but it still lives inside of me
hold on tight
as we slip into this revelry
slow down slow down
it’s moving much too fast
can’t live in this moment
when i’m tangled in the past
But the rockers are growing on me too…the opening track, “Always a Friend” is a straight ahead rocker that Bruce and the E Street Band learned before they brought Alejandro out for an encore in Houston a couple months ago. And songs like “Chelsea Hotel ’78” and the tribute to Iggy Pop – “Real As An Animal” – sound great turned up loud and tearing down the road, making me temporarily forget about $4 gas and 15 miles to the gallon. We all need an escape in this day and age, and this album is a great side trip.