Escovedo/Cale album

After Uzbeking away the early evening, my lovely date and I sauntered over to Maria’s Tacos for some honest comida Mexicana and the tail-end of Alejandro Escovedo’s Birthday Party. For the record, Al has always looked at least 20 years younger than his age, which makes him a cheeky 35, never mind the brood of kidlets, teenagers and full-grown adults he has raised. And after witnessing the blazing return of the True Believers who doubled up with Los Lobos at Antone’s in Austin back in November, I sometimes wonder if the past 20 years really happened because both bands sounded so fresh.

But Al will be the first to tell you that all that water really has passed under the bridge and he really is 55. Because it's taken the past 20 years to have evolved into the esteemed performer and recording artist he is. And from all indications, a whole lot more folks may be on the verge of discovering that for themselves.

The birthday party also celebrated completion of Escovedo’s studio collaboration with John Cale. The two performed together at last year’s SXSW. The recent recording in Los Angeles with Escovedo as artist and Cale as producer, has evidently taken it to the next level.

Back before they started, Al called and talked about the pending sessions. I passed along the nickel advice to ask Cale what he’d never done in a recording studio before, then encourage him to do it—thinking that offering him that might chug up some inspiration in an old pro who’s been making records for more than 40 years. And if Cale didn’t respond, I suggested to Alejandro, think about what you’ve never done before in a studio but would like to do.

I guess Cale took to the bait. All I know is Al and band were all grinning ear to ear, especially drummer Hector Muniz because the drums are ‘way up front in the mix—so far in front this album could be titled The Drums, featurning Alejandro Escovedo, though it probably won’t. Whatever it will be called, Cale’s prints are all over it. One track started with a riff improvised by bassist Mark Andes (yes, that Mark Andes of Spirit, JoJo Gunne and Eliza Gilkyson fame) that Cale IDed as a Rolling Stones hook. By the time it was mixed, though, it had morphed into a Prince cut, according to Munoz.

The album drops in May although I’m going to try to get a listen in the next week or so. .

Munoz’s other band, Hellapeno, fronted by my kayaking buddies Dave Derrick, formerly of Pariah, and Erik Huebner, a certified Doug Head (as in Sir Doug Sahm) if there ever was one, and Joe Eddy Hines, another Pal O’ Al, is finishing up an album produced by Stuart Sullivan.

You can get a taste by downloading four rockin’, grindin’ tracks can be found at Hellapeno’s MySpace website. which also lists their playdate schedule and has some bitchin’ photos posted.

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