Monday, November 30, 2009

Alejandro Esovedo - Rosalie

Alejandro Escovedo (born January 10, 1951, in San Antonio, Texas) is a Mexican-American musician and singer-songwriter. His parents emigrated to Texas from Mexico. Escovedo is from a very musical family that has generated several professional musicians, including his brothers Coke Escovedo and Pete Escovedo, both percussionists, and longtime Prince collaborator Sheila E (who is Pete's daughter and Alejandro's niece). Another brother, Mario, fronted the hard rock band The Dragons. Escovedo began performing in the first-wave punk rock group The Nuns, with Delphine Neid, Jennifer Miro, and Jeff Olener, in San Francisco, California. After Escovedo's departure, The Nuns recorded an album on Posh Boy Records, but had little commercial success.

In the 1980s Escovedo moved to Austin, Texas, where he adapted a roots rock/alternative country style in the bands Rank and File (with Chip and Tony Kinman) and the True Believers (with his brother Javier and Jon Dee Graham). However, it was with the release of his first solo albums, Gravity in 1992 and Thirteen Years in 1994, and on through his sixth album, A Man Under the Influence (produced in 2001), that he found his true voice. Although he has yet to crossover to any type of mainstream audience, he has a huge underground following, and many popular artists cite Escovedo as a strong influence.

In 1997, Alejandro collaborated with Whiskeytown and Ryan Adams during the recording sessions for their album Strangers Almanac. He sings on "Excuse Me While I Break My Heart Tonight", "Dancing with the Women at the Bar", and "Not Home Anymore". As a salute to Alejandro, a cover of a True Believers song written by Alejandro is covered by Whiskeytown on the Deluxe Edition re-release of Strangers Almanac.
In 1998 No Depression magazine named him Artist of the Decade. Alejandro was also involved in a side project that represents his hard rocking tastes. Buick MacKane released an album in 1997 The Pawn Shop Years, hearkening back to his musical roots from the 70's.

In 2003, after having lived with Hepatitis-C for many years, Alejandro fell critically ill, following a performance of By the Hand of the Father, and nearly died. In his long road to recovery, he faced increasing medical bills. Without medical insurance, Escovedo could not pay the substantial medical bills. Friends and admirers around the country organized benefit shows to help the songwriter. This effort grew into the album Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo, a two-disc set whose proceeds benefit the Alejandro Escovedo Medical and Living Expense Fund. Contributing musicians included Steve Earle, Jon Dee Graham, Lucinda Williams, John Cale, Jennifer Warnes, Ian Hunter, The Jayhawks, and Son Volt, as well as family members Pete Escovedo [with niece Sheila E.], Javier Escovedo, and The Dragons [featuring youngest brother, Mario Escovedo].

In 2005, Alejandro was declared to be free of the disease.

Also in 2005, Escovedo's song "Castanets" appeared on the iPod playlist of George W. Bush , prompting a three year self-imposed ban on live performances of the song. The song returned to Escovedo's live shows in 2008 along with an explanation for its absence.

Boxing Mirror came out on May 2, 2006 and included many of the songs he had promoted with The Alejandro Escovedo String Quintet, including Jon Dee Graham. Escovedo went on a short tour with the Quintet, which included a date at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall in early December 2006.

Escovedo's latest record, Real Animal, was released on June 24, 2008 and was produced by Tony Visconti. All of the songs were co-written with Chuck Prophet. In April, 2008, it was announced that Escovedo will be managed by Jon Landau and Barbara Carr. Landau has long been Bruce Springsteen's manager.


Alejandro Escovedo MySpace

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tish Hinojosa - The Westside of Town

Tish Hinojosa performing at MerleFest, 2008, P...Image via Wikipedia

Tish Hinojosa

Leticia ("Tish") Hinojosa (born December 6, 1955 San Antonio, Texas) is a folksinger recording in both Spanish and English. Hinojosa was the youngest of 13 children. Hinojosa's parents were Mexican immigrants, and she soaked up their music as well as the area's country sounds and popular rock and roll. She started playing guitar as a teenager, singing folk and pop songs in local clubs. She also sang commercial jingles for a Spanish-language radio station and recorded a few Latin pop songs for a local label. In 1979, she moved to Taos, NM, and eventually landed a job singing backup with Michael Martin Murphey. In 1983, she relocated to Nashville and tried to make it as a singer and/or songwriter, but found that she didn't fit the mold of what record companies wanted. In 1985, she moved back to Taos, and in 1988, she moved to Austin, TX. In 2007 she married Andreas Sedlmair and the couple maintains homes in his native Germany and Austin.

Her 1992 album Culture Swing, released by Rounder Records, won the NAIRD Indie Folk Album of the Year.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Texas Tornados

Texas Tornados

Texas Tornados was a Tejano band and its music was a fusion of rock, country and various Mexican styles. The initial combination of these musicians happened almost by chance at a concert performance of a mutual acquaintance. After Freddy Fender, Flaco Jiménez, Kevin West, Augie Meyers, Jorge "Pac-MAN" Diaz, and Doug Sahm performed in front of a San Francisco audience, they all knew the genuine bond they felt in their music could probably be taken to another level. After they initially performed as the Tex-Mex Revue, they took the title Texas Tornados, after Sahm's song and album of that name.

Another account of the group's birth says they formed when record company executives looking to cash in on regional music sales approached Sahm and Meyers around 1990, and they brought in longtime friends and collaborators Fender and Jiménez. Sahm had released albums under the name Texas Tornados as early as the 1970s, some featuring Fender or Meyers. Jiménez and Meyers played on Sahm's Atlantic Records debut in 1971. As Fender once said "You've heard of New Kids on the Block?, we're the Old Guys in the Street".

Individually, this quartet has had major success. San Benito-native Freddy Fender was a cross-over success story around the world with hits like "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights".

Flaco Jiménez has played with acts ranging from the Rolling Stones to Dwight Yoakam. He also is known as the "Father of Conjunto Music" (Flaco plays the Conjunto accordion).

Augie Meyers has shared the stage with the likes of The Allman Brothers Band and Bob Dylan. He's also a member of the Texas Music Hall of Fame. Doug Sahm and Augie Meyers were both members of the 1960s pop-rock band the Sir Douglas Quintet, with hits such as "She's About a Mover" and "Mendocino" to their credit. Sahm, Meyers and Jiménez are from the San Antonio area.

The band's 1990 debut was recorded in both English and Spanish versions. The Texas Tornados were asked to perform all over the world at places like the Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton, the Montreaux Jazz Festival, as well as regular appearances at Farm Aid and the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show.

Among their other albums is Live From The Limo, this was the last album to be recorded that featured the complete lineup, as Sahm died in 1999, the year of its release. Fender, who had health problems in later years, died in 2006. Their 2005 Live from Austin album was a recording of a 1990 performance on the TV series Austin City Limits.

People sometimes refer to their lyrics as Spanglish because of the mixture of English and Spanish in the same song, in addition to pronouncing the Spanish lyrics in an American accent, which is evident in their hit, "(Hey Baby) Que Paso". An example is the lyric: "Don't you know I love you / and my corazón is real?", where the word corazón (Spanish for "heart") is improperly pronounced /ˌkɔrəˈsoʊn/, with an obvious American accent, instead of [koɾaˈson]. The band's self-titled debut album was offered in Spanish and English-language versions.

R.I.P. Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The King of the Texas Dance Halls

In the long and storied history of the Texas dance hall, Gruene Hall holds a unique place. And it's not just because it's the oldest continually operating dance hall in the state of Texas, but also because it has served as both a launching pad and a continuing venue for some of the most influential musicians in American music. Gruene Hall has been pivotal in the careers of such musicians as George StraitLyle Lovett and Hal Ketchum, and has nurtured blues, rockabilly, folk, and singer/songwriter artists. This famous stage has also welcomed the likes of Bo Diddley, The Dixie Chicks, Jerry Lee LewisGarth BrooksWillie NelsonMerle Haggard, Junior Brown, Robert Earl KeenStevie Ray Vaughn, and many more.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Two Tons Of Steel Crash Into Landa Park

Texas favorites Two Tons of Steel give a decidedly western swing twist to the Ramones punk classic Sedated. (2009 KNBT Crossroads Party):

Two Tons of Steel

Texas band Two Tons of Steel might be described as equal parts Elvis Presley and Elvis Costello, with a liberal dose of Buddy Holly and a dollop of The Ramones. It’s a one-of-a-kind sound that bandleader and frontman Kevin Geil likes to call “countrybilly.”

It’s also a sound that’s boosted the group to renown as the face of Texas music: with its live performance at historical Gruene Hall; of Two Tons of Steel in the internationally released IMAX film “Texas: The Big Picture”; its performance of King of a One Horse Town in the roots-country documentary that screens continuously at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame; its swing tune as part of Lone Star beer’s ongoing regional radio campaign; and by becoming Texas music ambassadors to ecstatic fans in Cuba and at sold-out shows throughout Europe. Two Tons of Steel continues as an institution at Texas’ famed Gruene Hall, where its annual Two Ton Tuesdays summer series draws 12,000 fans, and as a popular act at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. For eight years, it’s been voted Best Country Band by the San Antonio Current, its hometown weekly.

Lead singer Geil handles acoustic guitar, Dennis Fallon plays electric guitar, Ric Ramirez plucks the upright bass, Chris Dodds provides drums and percussion, and Texas Steel Guitar Hall of Famer Denny Mathis adds more steel muscle.

Two Tons of Steel Website

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt