With These Hands
- First time Alejandro’s Rykodisc debut is available on vinyl
- Pressed on 180g vinyl and comes in a gatefold tip-on style jacket
Alejandro is a Mexican-American rock musician, songwriter and singer who has been recording and touring since the late 1970s. The son of Mexican immigrants to Texas, Escovedo is from a musical family that includes several professionals, including his brothers Coke Escovedo and Pete Escovedo, and Sheila E. (Pete’s daughter and Alejandro’s niece). Alejandro’s brother Mario fronted the hard rock band the Dragons, and another brother, Javier, was in the punk rock band, the Zeros. Alejandro began performing in the first-wave punk rock group the Nuns, with Jennifer Miro and Jeff Olener in San Francisco.
In the 1980s Escovedo moved to Austin, where he adopted a roots rock/alternative country style in the bands Rank and File and the True Believers (with his brother Javier). His first solo albums, Gravity and Thirteen Years, were released in 1992 and 1994. In 1997, Alejandro collaborated with Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown in sessions for their album Strangers Almanac. He sings on “Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight,” “Dancing with The Women at the Bar,” and “Not Home Anymore.” In 1995 he signed with Rykodisc and released his solo album, With These Hands. With a bit more money at his disposal, the production on this record displays greater depth and polish and he was able to bring along a few celebrity side guests—Willie Nelson, Jennifer Warnes, and his cousin Sheila E.—who add to the music without calling undue attention to themselves. In 1998 No Depression magazine named him Artist of the Decade. In 1999 he contributed to a tribute album for Skip Spence, co-founder of Moby Grape, who was critically ill with cancer. More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence album was intended to raise funds to address Spence’s medical bills. Critic Rob Brunner commented, “Alejandro Escovedo offers an appropriately bleary ‘Diana,’ Spence’s darkest song.”
In 2003 after having lived with hepatitis C for many years, Alejandro collapsed on stage in Arizona. In his long road to recovery he faced substantial medical bills, which, lacking medical insurance, he could not pay. Friends and admirers organized benefit shows to help. This effort grew into the album Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo, whose proceeds benefited the Alejandro Escovedo Medical and Living Expense Fund. Contributing musicians included Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, John Cale, Jennifer Warnes, Ian Hunter, The Jayhawks, Son Volt and various members of Escovedo’s family.
Escovedo continues to release solo albums on various labels including Bloodshot, Blue Rose, Fantasy and Yep Roc. In 2014, he appeared in the movie and contributed to the soundtrack of the movie Veronica Mars, singing an acoustic version of “We Used to Be Friends.” That same year he co-produced and co-hosted the SXSW Tribute to Lou Reed with Richard Barone.