Alejandro Escovedo – ‘the godfather of modern country’ – coming to Tahoe
CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — As a touring musician the past 40 years, rock legend Alejandro Escovedo has covered a lot of ground — in more ways than one.
He christened his career in San Francisco as a guitarist for the punk rock group The Nuns in the 1970s.
He tapped into his alt-country/Americana sound and transitioned into a solo artist in Austin in the ’80s.
He collaborated with the Ryan Adams-led outfit Whiskeytown in Nashville in the ’90s.
Four years ago, in 2011, he even shared the stage and microphone with “The Boss” — as he’s done on several occasions — in Bruce Springsteen’s home state of New Jersey.
Yes, through four decades, Texas-born singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo has performed in just about every pocket of the United States on just about every size stage.
And that’s why Escovedo, 64, gets amped when he finds somewhere new to plug in and spill out his songs — like Lake Tahoe.
The punk-turned-roots rocker will make his Big Blue debut Sunday night when he settles into the Crystal Bay Club Casino’s Crown Room.
“It’s always wonderful to go somewhere you’ve never been before,” Escovedo said in a phone interview, noting that his wife has vacationed in the Tahoe area in the past. “She loves to stand-up paddleboard; she loves Lake Tahoe. It (Tahoe) looks like a really wonderful place.”
As much as he’d like to hike or paddleboard after he drops anchor in Crystal Bay, Escovedo said he would instead be focused on “creating the atmosphere that we want” inside the CBC.
For those who’ve seen Escovedo unspool loud, catchy Americana with his full band, the Sensitive Boys, the tone will be much different Sunday.
Gone will be the drums; gone will be the bass guitar; gone will be most of the instruments — from the organ to violin — that have appeared throughout Escovedo’s eclectic catalog of 14 solo albums.
Left standing will be Escovedo on his guitar and Matt Fish on the cello, performing as a duo in a seated show.
“It’s very intimate,” Escovedo said. “What it does is enables you to expose yourself even more; take more chances musically; and I’m able to really kind of get into the heart of the song.
“If you’re playing with a rock and roll band, you want to get people moving. With this, it’s more about the songs and trying to get the emotions across.”
His songs include “Always A Friend” (arguably his most popular song, and the tune Springsteen has belted alongside him numerous times) off the album “Real Animal” (2008), “Castanets” off of “Under the Influence” (2001), and “I Was Drunk” off of “Bourbonitis Blues” (1999).
“We play everything from ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ (a reverberating guitar-charged track off ‘More Miles Than Money: Live 1994-96’) to some of the most naked ballads you’ll ever hear,” Escovedo said.
In essence, the CBC crowd will be getting a stripped down version of the man Rolling Stone magazine once referred to as “the godfather of modern country.”
CBC manager Bill Wood said he’s not only thrilled to bring Escovedo to Tahoe for the first time, he’s excited for the audience to experience such an uniquely intimate show inside the Crown Room.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing him; we’ve wanted to get him for quite a while,” Wood said of Escovedo. “A lot of his stuff really transfers over to a seating show. I think the styles that we do most are blue grass, Americana, and blues, and I think he fits in that Americana genre perfectly for us.”
No matter, Escovedo said it’s his punk rock roots that continue to drive him as a musician to this day.
“From punk rock, it was really about challenging yourself and wanting to find things within yourself that you didn’t know existed,” he said. “And by taking chances, you may not always succeed, but learn something and keep going until you find it, and it may lead you in a completely different but equally satisfying direction and result.”
Read more about Escovedo and his music at alejandroescovedo.com.