February 5, 2005


Texas troubadour facing the music (MARY HOULIHAN, January 30, 2005, Chicago Sun Times)

Nearly four years ago, Alejandro Escovedo celebrated the release of his album, "The Man Under the Influence," with a four-night, multi-club event in Chicago. On April 25, 2001, the Texas singer-songwriter began the series of sold-out shows with an intimate performance at the Hideout. In a room lit only by dozens of candles, he solidified his status as a Chicago favorite and one of the more creative artists to come out of Austin.

Escovedo continued to ride this wave of creativity and critical success until 2003, when, during that same week in April, writing, recording and touring were put on hold when he collapsed after a performance in Phoenix. Rushed to a local hospital, he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver caused by hepatitis C.

The past 20 months have been a test for Escovedo. For the first time since he picked up a guitar and joined a rock 'n' roll band, the accomplished Texas troubadour faced life without the music that has been a large part of his complex existence for three decades. From that day forward, everything changed for the soft-spoken singer-songwriter, who says he looks at life differently now.

"If that hadn't happened to me, I'd be on the same trip," said Escovedo, in a phone interview from his home outside San Antonio. "But everything was taken away. I had a chance to finally look at what I had accomplished and where I was going and what was possible if I survived this whole thing."

Escovedo embarked on an intense treatment, a caustic combination of interferon and ribavirin, which "really messes you up." He stopped taking the drugs about six months ago and, in recent months, has performed once a month in or around Austin, including Willie Nelson's tsunami benefit.

With These Hands is a good disc.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 5, 2005 6:05 AM

Great article. I saw Alejandro last night at Fitzgerald's, and he was awesome, as usual. He looked healthy, too.

Do not miss his show, if you get a chance. He's one of a kind, and might not live too many more years, with liver disease.

Other good CDs: Gravity, and Thirteen Years, which are the two acknowledge masterpieces -- I have Gravity and it is beautiful and haunting at the same time.

OJ, we seem to like a lot of the same music ...

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at February 5, 2005 1:55 PM