published Friday, October 19th, 2012

Genre-bending Alejandro Escovedo

  • photo
    Alejandro Escovedo returns to Chattanooga on satukrday for a show at Rhythm & Brews.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

If You Go

What: Alejandro Escovedo and The Sensitive Boys

When: 9 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.

Admission: $15.

Phone: 267-4644

Alejandro Escovedo has been at the forefront of everything from punk to Americana during his three-decade career, but he’s always managed to be an original. Influenced by all types of musical genres, his sound is hard to pigeonhole.

His early bands included punkers The Nuns and post-punkers/early Americana group Rank and File.

He first began playing in Chattanooga in the ’90s at the Lizard Lounge as a solo artist. Today, after creating three records with legendary producer Tony Visconti, with Chuck Prophet sharing co-writing credits on the last two, Escovedo is again reinventing himself.

“It’s funny,” he said, “I remember when we were playing at [The Lizard Lounge], it was the beginning of the Bloodshot Records years. It was great and very rewarding. Things have shifted quite a bit for me personally, and I’ve moved on.”

Visconti is perhaps best known for producing works for David Bowie and T-Rex. Escovedo said he didn’t want to copy sounds from those works, but he wanted to know how they were done, and he wanted to mimic the sense of experimentation they evoke.

“Those were records that affected our lives,” he said. “I learned a lot about making records from those and working with Tony ... . Once I got over the fanboy stuff, not that you ever really get over it, but he brings all of those things — the way he uses voices or instrumentation or the way he uses strings. He pushes me to find new ways to express myself.”

Escovedo will be bringing his band, The Sensitive Boys, with him for his Saturday show at Rhythm & Brews. They are just coming off the road opening for Heart and, before that, John Prine. The shows were mostly acoustic sets, he said, but the two legendary acts attracted quite different crowds.

“Prine’s crowd is a listening crowd who went there to hear stories, lyrics and to be moved,” Escovedo said. “They did not want a big show. They wanted intimacy.

“Heart is much grander in scope and all about the hits. Not that Heart panders to that, but that is what the audience wants.”

For his part, both tours provided a chance to introduce his music to a new audience. His show Saturday will be more electric, but he said he wasn’t exactly sure how much since the band liked the acoustic change of pace.

“We enjoyed getting into the harmonies,” he said. “It was a different experience and different audiences, and we learned a lot.”

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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