Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2024

7:00 pm Doors, 8:00pm Show

$30 ADV | $35 DOS

Presented by:
Triple D's

  • Alejandro Escovedo

  • Alejandro Escovedo

    Alejandro Escovedo's New Album ECHO DANCING is an Adventure in Life No one has really ever been able to define themselves and their music like singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo does. His life in music of all kinds sometimes feels like a swirl through the sky, where his songs point out all the majesty and mystery of how he sees the world. The sounds he makes take him places that he might not even predict, but once there, greatness always follows. It's just the way Escovedo is. It has happened over and over for decades, almost like a fateful agreement he has with the cosmos. There is a good chance it cannot be explained, especially by him. Maybe that's because this is a musician who feels magic, both in himself and the world around him, and is open to the experience of whatever comes his way. It is not always easy, and can have a high demand on how a person lives. But it is the way that Escovedo is always moving forward. On this new album, Alejandro Escovedo has taken a road rarely traveled, which is totally in keeping with how he has lived his life in music. Echo Dancing is an experiment in how to use the past to shape the future. By recording completely new and repurposed versions of songs from his past, Escovedo actually gets a chance to rewrite his own history. It's also an idea that pushes growth into the present, and asks an artist to see themselves anew. "I always feel that a well-written song can withstand a lot of abuse," Escovedo says. It is an area of creativity that the man has always honored. "Turning a past song inside out leads to discovery of new ideas you might not have understood about the song," he says. "Even lyrical refurbishing has proven helpful and effective. It's like interpreting your own work anew. The songs never seem to be complete. They are always evolving." And with those words, Alejandro Escovedo succinctly explains the new levels of artistic exploration he's undertaken on his new album. It's a unique adventure into recording new versions of songs from his past, and approaching them as challenges to totally express what the music means to him today. Songs like "Bury Me" and "Castañuelas," while they were powerful in their original form several years ago, now announce themselves as highlights of Escovedo's long career. They speak to an eternal world that lives inside so much of his music, like it was formed in a way that cannot age. There is something very permanent in the career of the Texas- born artist, an inner flame that is always there. It feels like it is a part of musical history that is rarely captured at such peak performance, let alone reappears with a new life. If the life of an artist is always to push ahead, to leave what was done alone in favor of contemporary creations, then Escovedo's basic concept of Echo Dancing is a revolutionary concept of high beliefs. That the past can live again as a reborn entity. "I was planning this record just prior to boarding a plane to Italy to record with Don Antonio and Nicola Peruch," Escovedo says. "My original idea was to record an album of new material. But then I changed my mind and thought that revisiting songs from my various past albums throughout my career would be more interesting. I have a great faith in these two artists to always create something interesting with whatever I might bring to the session. These songs were already dressed for the dance." Everything on Echo Dancing has a feeling of absolute freshness about it, and at the same time, there is a strong link to the past. It's almost like reincarnation in the recording studio, but everything seems brand new. All the musicians are dedicated to finding the new amongst the songs' prior history. It is not something that happens often, and it surely has never occurred quite like it does on this fascinating new collection. Alejandro Escovedo knew that an experience like the one he was embarking on needed all the freshness he could find, and off he went to Italy. Sometimes there are now choices in how to approach a new vision. It simply has to be started with total dedication. "I find that recording in a foreign country opens the creative eye in a way that working at home lacks," he says. And the way the experiment works was proof that today's approach to these songs has a rock-solid beauty to it. A new sonic world has opened. "Surprises were a daily occurance," the musician says, "and we embraced them with exuberance. Is it the beginning or the end? I feel there have always been certain songs on my albums that have guided me to new approaches in my music. That is really the goal of recording. To keep moving forward no matter what it takes. That's why I continue to work on new ways to tell these stories." Truer words were never spoken than Alejandro Escovedo's love for exploration in the music he writes and plays. The son of a Mexican immigrant and a Texas native, the sounds that Escovedo first discovered and then performed morphed into all kinds of exciting styles of his life. A member of the first-wave punk rock group The Nuns in San Francisco, he moved to New York and joined the Judy Nylon band and experienced the total electricity of the late 1970s there. Moving then to Austin was a radical shift of geography and musical style when Escovedo helped form one of the country's first so-called Cowpunk adventurers. It often seems like the man has been on a pirate-like adventure through the kinds of music he is drawn to. Those sounds are usually new and often have a strong edge of the avant-garde in them. Deeply embedded in the burgeoning Austin scene in the 1980s, Escovedo was a prime architect in the new band True Believers, which included his brother Javier and Jon Dee Graham. In many ways the band helped build the gateway to the whole burgeoning Americana music scene which prospers to this day, but it was also the turning point for Alejandro Escovedo to take his life in his control and record solo albums. In the thirty-plus years since that decision has come a wild roller-coaster ride of groups, spinoffs, tribute albums and even original dramatic projects and experiments. In 1998, No Depression Magazine named him Artist of the Decade. For this musician, though, that was just the start of a life that twists and turns wherever Escovedo's clearly uninhibited imagination takes him. The 21st century has been a time of widely successful excursions that only a few American musicians are able to create. Between adventurous solo albums, continuing collaborations with other musicians, and an ever-growing sense of boundary-breaking, Alejandro Escovedo has created his own definition of what a modern rock artist can accomplish. Which is exactly why Echo Dancing comes at the perfect time for this man. While it does seem Escovedo has his own category of accomplishments, to now bring together these songs he has previously recorded and inject such exciting new and different life into them is a complete exoneration of his belief in the future. "I said goodbye to certain phases of my life as I have grown," the musician says. "I greeted new acquaintances musically. And I was extremely surprised by the outcome. That is the thrill of being alive. I feel we have now made a beautiful collection of songs recorded in an effortless vibe of collaboration and camaraderie. I can't give Nicola and Antonio enough credit and thanks for their musicianship and wide-open approach to making this album. And I should also mention Ivano Giovedi, who incredibly engineered the recordings. He did an amazing job." "Everyone involved has guided me to new approaches to my music, like other musicians have my whole life. I have always worked hard to discover new ways to tell the story. I've never hidden my love for Brian Eno, Roxy Music, Judy Nylon, Cluster, along with the Stooges, New York Dolls, MC5, Roky Erickson, Lightnin' Hopkins, Joe Ely, Terry Allen; you get the picture. There is always more work to be done and joy to be made. I am nowhere near finished." Echo Dancing makes sure Alejandro Escovedo's evolving circle remains unbroken.

  • James Mastro

    James Mastro - guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, producer and singer-songwriter extraordinaire - has toured the world dozens of times over as a supportive musician with some of the biggest and most critically acclaimed rock and pop artists ever to grace a stage including Patti Smith, Ian Hunter, Judy Collins, John Cale, The Jayhawks, Alejandro Escovedo, Garland Jeffreys, Jesse Malin, and with Robert Plant as his musical director for a benefit concert for an artist they both admired immensely, Love’s Arthur Lee. From The Beacon Theater to the Shepherd's Bush Empire (UK), Mastro has roused crowds with brilliant performances channeling the sonic inventiveness of David Bowie and the tastefulness of Mick Ronson. Discussing his new album for MPress Records, “Dawn of a New Error,” the Americana-rock singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer reveals: "As an underage kid, I used to do whatever it took to see the bands I loved: wait in line for hours for tickets, or sneak into clubs and push my way to the front of the stage. Now, as an overaged kid, I’ve had the best seat in the house playing guitar onstage with many of those same artists that inspired me to do what I’ve been doing all these years. And I still feel like I’m sneaking in!”“Dawn of a New Error” finds Mastro firmly in frontman territory, unleashing 10 brand-new, fiery cuts that will make even the most jaded music listener sit up and listen. What makes Mastro all the more impressive - band cred aside - is his arsenal of sounds. Textural and otherworldly one minute and retro-rock the next, each track on his MPress debut is a swoon-worthy, master class in crafting timeless hooks, intelligent lyrics, and kick-ass playing that any fan of Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, or Wilco will embrace. Produced by Tony Shanahan (Patti Smith’s bassist, co-producer and musical collaborator) at Hobo Sound, the album was recorded and mixed by Grammy nominee James Frazee (Patti Smith, Sharon Van Etten, Marshall Crenshaw), and mastered by the legendary Greg Calbi. Mastro wrote and sang all the songs, along with playing all guitars and mandolin. Shanahan played bass, keyboards, and sang backing vocals. Noteworthy drummers are on the record include the late Louie Appel (Southside Johnny), Brian Griffin (Brandi Carlile, Black Crowes), Steve Goulding (The Mekons, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe), and Bill Dubrow (Yoko Ono, Linda Thompson).Bursting with timeless rock hooks, shout-it-like-you-mean-it vocals, and clever, thoughtful lyrics, it’s a timely album that toes the line between twangy Americana and Art Rock. The raucous album opener “Right Words, Wrong Song,” the hopeful “The Face of the Sun,” and the fast-moving “Three Words,” all feature the inimitable guest vocals of Ian Hunter. Mastro elaborates, "We invited Ian to the studio to see if we could coax him into doing a guest appearance on "Right Words, Wrong Song."He then coaxed us into adding to two more! He raised all of these songs to a new level, something he just can’t help doing.” The introspective track “My God” was the first song recorded, and sets the tone for the rest of the album, with its poignant lyrics and engaging melody. Mastro explains, "It's a song of belief in oneself and in others. I was a utility player with Patti Smith at the time I was writing this, and just wasn’t sure if it was working or not. I shared it with her and she encouraged me to go with it.”“Trouble” was inspired after sharing the stage with Levon Helm. “River Runs Forever,” with its stream of consciousness lyrics, flows through lost loves and winds up ruminating on the end of days. The lyrics of the mandolin-driven “Everywhere” conjure up blurry black & white photo images, while the gospel feel of “Someday Someone Will Turn Your Head Around” (with guest musicians Dave Schramm/guitar, Andy Burton/organ, Jeremy Chatzky/bass, Ron Metz/drums) couldn’t be clearer with its messages of perseverance, redemption, and hope.Mastro and Shanahan worked together for years in ‘90s alt-country darlings The Health & Happiness Show, which also included Vinny DeNunzio (The Feelies), and at various points Richard Lloyd (Television, Matthew Sweet), Ivan Julian (Richard Hell & the Voidoids), and Graham Maby (Joe Jackson).“We work well together, trust each other’s instincts, and have similar record collections and tastes in food and cocktails, so it’s a win-win!” says Mastro.At the age of 16, Mastro was already playing at CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City during the height of the NYC punk scene. By the time he was 17, he had been asked by Television’s Richard Lloyd to join his new band, which included playing on Lloyd’s highly acclaimed Alchemy album on Elektra. Moving to Hoboken, NJ, in 1980, Mastro added his guitar and songwriting skills to The Bongos - helping launch the music scene based around the legendary rock club Maxwell’s. The Bongos went on to tour non-stop for five years supporting Drums Along the Hudson (Jem Records), and RCA releases Numbers With Wings, and Beat Hotel.In the early ‘90’s, he formed the Health & Happiness Show, which quickly became alt-country darlings, of whom Request Magazine wrote, “Mastro is one of America’s best songwriters.” With two albums Tonic, and Instant Living, on Bar None Records, and Sad & Sexy on the artists co-op label, Cropduster, H&H Show toured non-stop with the likes of Wilco, Golden Smog, and Texas troubadour Butch Hancock, to name a few, up until their final show in 2001.Mastro has been anything but idle since the H&HS’s retirement. That same year he added his guitar-playing skills to legendary Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter’s triumphant return to stage and studio, and he’s been his left-hand man ever since, appearing on his past seven albums and as a member of the Mott the Hoople reunion tour in 2018-19 (in which he taught himself how to play saxophone for the show!). His production and session credits include Jill Sobule, Steve Wynn, Phoebe Snow, and Rachael Sage. He also produced Ian Hunter doing a version of Jesse Malin’s song “Dead On,” featured on an upcoming benefit album to aid Malin, who is suffering from a rare, paralyzing spinal stroke. He is a featured guest performer on The Feelies' upcoming live album, Some Kinda Love (Performing the Music of the Velvet Underground). “Dawn of a New Error” is due out in February 2024 on MPress Records.