Alejandro Escovedo, Glasgow Americana Festival, The Arches, Glasgow October 9, 2011 – Mike Ritchie, Americana U.K.
He mentioned modern-day communication wonders such as Skype and Facebook in his first ten minutes on stage but, clearly, Escovedo’s musical roots spring from the more traditional and emotional platforms of his upbringing and various experiences as a musician, not with Santana, however, unlike a couple of his brothers. On the other hand, they never sang with Springsteen though it’s hard to imagine the immaculate Escovedo ever trying to score any cheap points.
The final show in this year’s Glasgow Americana Festival was sheer class with Texan legend Escovedo and the wonderful talents of guitarist David Pulkingham bringing the curtain down memorably. The two men were so gloriously refined, exciting, energetic and engaging that their time on stage raced by very quickly. Luckily, not so speedily that we couldn’t savour a performance that was uncluttered and meaningful throughout.
Superb opener ‘Anchor’ – from the 2010 release Street Songs of Love – set the tone while ‘Down in the Bowery’ from the same album, whose lines: “I hope you live long enough to forget half the stuff that they taught you / And when it’s all said and done I hope you got your own set of rules to hang on to” are plain and sincere advice for a kid. There was so much to admire here – Escovedo’s quiet charm and genuine belief in his music was palpable. Each song was prefaced by a story and a pride that yielded a delivery to strike at the heart of the audience. You can’t hide from such genuine, warm observations or not be touched. With the marvellous Pulkingham at his side providing riveting playing it was a devastating combination few could better.