Written by Eddie Ferranti
Oct 30, 2008 at 08:00 PM
ImageGot to break my cherry at the latest new music venue in H-Town recently. The latest House of Blues opened in downtown with a bill that I personally thought was ass backwards. With no disrespect to Los Lonely Boys, a stalwart like Alejandro Escovedo is the headliner in my book. And he showed why in just a little over 1 hour opening set.

AE moved to Austin in the 80’s where he established his love for whatever you want to call his style of music. Some say alt country, others roots rock. Whatever it is, it translates extremely well live. I’ve had the fortune to follow this dude for awhile now being 2.5 hours from Austin. Catching a rare reunion with his brother Javier and bad ass John Dee Graham in the “True Believers” really got my attention. Alejandro just has that cheer for the underdog type feel to him. Ever since musicians across the world came to play benefits for Escovedo when he fell ill to hepatitis C back in 2003, he has really found his stride in my book. “A Man Under the Ifluence” (2001), “By the Hand of the Father” (2002), killer “The Boxing Mirror” and 2008’s “Real Animal” have been spun on the under the radar satellite stations big time. Especially since Bruce Springsteen called AE 6 hours before his gig in Houston and told him (along with Joe Ely!) to get his ass here to do a song with him! They did AE’s “Always a Friend”…… How cool is that?

Hell, he’s signed on with Jon Landau, Bruce’s longtime manager. I’m happy that the masses are starting to appreciate this guy. Being able to slide thru a tender moment with “Rosalee” and follow it with a crushing hot Iggy Pop tune is something to behold. David Pulkingham, the lone Texan (Houston) in the band this night, is a perfect fit jamming with ease with Alejandro. Josh Gravelin on bass and Hector Munoz drums round out a spirited bad ass line up. Alejandro has finally brought back a true classic in “Castinets”, which he scorched the HOB down with as his last tune. He explained the over three year hiatus of the song due to George Dubyah professing he had it on his personal i-pod!  Classic sense of humor to boot with this class act man.

I could go on and on about Alejandro jamimming with the likes of Mott the Hoople and The Nuns way back in 1974. Dude has paid his dues and it is about time he’s rewarded for it. God Bless Alejandro Escovedo. A pro’s pro in my book folks…

As far as the “headline” act, Los Lonely Boys, it was a totally differnet deal. I’ve been most fortunate to catch these guys 3 times BEFORE they even had a CD to sell at gigs! The likes of the Saxon Pub and Continental Club, in both Austin & Houston, were monumental mind bending experiences. The absolute rawness that exploded from Henry Garza’s guitar was mesmorizing those first few times. Complimented by his brothers, Jojo on bass and Ringo on drums, they mash head on in a tight environment. But it is funny what happens when a band so called “makes it” sometimes.

2004’s single “Heaven” shot these guys to the top with high rankings on Billboard and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance. The key word to me there is pop. Hell, the damn song was played everywhere but a dog’s ass like forever!

Now that is not LLB’s fault, but the last couple of times I’ve seen them, they are a bit too spit shine shoes polished for me. Their Texican Rock n’ Roll still fills a void big time with a niche audience for sure. The place was packed and sweating each lick that HG scorched out of his axe. But the latest CD, “Forgiven”, has just been so so for the band. “Staying with Me” has failed to make much noise as of yet.

The band can really harmonize well. “Forgiven” has some inspiring words and the CD was recorded in a manner to try and capture more of the band’s strong point-live settings. Please don’t get me wrong. These dudes ROCK and I enjoyed seeing them again. It is just I think they were in the wrong position this evening…That’s me. Until the next jam, I’m out.