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Tuesday, December 8, 2009


320 KBPS

This Room of Songs, Austin's Cactus Cafe, is one of the birthplaces of Alejandro Escovedo, songwriter. He left plenty of shotgun casings on the floor of the True Believers, but in their aftermath, Escovedo emerged a songwriter with Gravity. Solo, with strings, and later an entire orchestra, he worked up the foundations of his entire repertoire at UT's velvet listening room, this past spring a chance to further hone after a lengthy lay-off. Though its 78 minutes fit on a single disc, the 2-CD digi-packed ROS plays like 15 years of polish, a subtle face-lift of Escovedo favorites strung by two guitars, two cellos, and Susan Voelz's impassioned violin. All that nylon accentuates the tension in Escovedo's songs, the density lending "Everybody Loves Me" John Cale's viola burn and thus the pedigree to dwell in its true resting place: one of the Stooges first two LPs. The extension and ad-libs in both "Sex Beat" and "Bury Me" make them powerful additions to the cannon. Disc two feels more suite-like, opening with the heart of By the Hand of the Father, "Wave" into "Rosalie," the latter's strings gliding over David Pulkingham's piquant, Latin-flavored guitar serenade. "Velvet Guitar" has a newfound clarity once the rock is stripped away, though the strings don't strip the song of its weight. "Put You Down," which follows doesn't quite reach the same height, but 10-minute closer "Gravity/Falling Down" does, pushing and pulling, lively with countermelodies and lockstep cellos. Only Al rocks with strings.
Disc One
1. Baby's Got New Plans
2. Way It Goes
3. By Eleven
4. Everybody Loves Me
5. Sex Beat
6. Bury Me
7. Thirteen Years Theme

Disc Two
1. Wave
2. Juarez
3. Rosalie
4. I Was Drunk
5. Velvet Guitar
6. Put You Down
7. Gravity/Falling Down

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