Alejandro Escovedo, Jesse Malin | FitzGerald's | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Alejandro Escovedo, Jesse Malin Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Fri., Nov. 18, 9 p.m. 2016

The title of the gorgeous “I Don’t Want to Play Guitar Anymore,” from Alejandro Escovedo’s superb new album Burn Something Beautiful (Fantasy), bluntly choreographs the theme of the track: “When there’s no stories left to say / That’s the end of everything.” Those lyrics tell a poignant tale, and it’s just one of many tunes where mortality is on the mind of the 65-year-old rocker. In the four years since his last record, the uneven Big Station, Escovedo has married, overcome his decades-long struggle with hepatitis C, suffered PTSD after enduring a hurricane in Mexico on his honeymoon, and moved away from his longtime home in Austin to relocate in Dallas. His new record, made with Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Scott McCaughey of the Minus Five, taps a gritty, in-your-face attack that draws liberally from the groove-heavy vibes of T. Rex and the Stooges, though the grind is leavened by Escovedo’s beautiful melodic sense and poetic touch. The band also includes Fastbacks guitarist Kurt Bloch, and he, together with some stunning harmony singing from Kelly Hogan, provides a solid foundation for the singer, who laments relationships he’s destroyed, somberly celebrates kicking deadly habits, and poeticizes the power of a simple kiss. Turning cliche into truth, Escovedo puts faith in the redemptive power of rock—witness his unfettered homage to the sneering passion of Lou Reed on “Johnny Volume,” which makes the case that age is no impediment to powerful music.

Peter Margasak

Price: $25

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