Last year was the first time Texas punk/country troubadour Alejandro Escovedo saw Bruce Springsteen live. Unlike most of the Boss' fans, it was from about four feet away on the same stage.
Even in a year that included a performance at the Democratic National Convention and recognition from the Austin Music Awards and the Americana Music Association, joining the E Street Band to perform, "Always a Friend," one of Escovedo's songs, was a gold-star moment, he said.
"It was one of those really high points in one's life, a major event," Escovedo said. "It was amazing to finally see what everyone had been talking about all these years as far as his live show is concerned. I was blown away by the whole event."
Escovedo, a native Texan based out of Austin, grew up surrounded by musical relatives. Despite that, he said he never wanted to play music but came into the craft by unexpected means.
"I only started playing guitar because my friend and I wanted to make a movie about the worst band in the world," Escovedo said. "Since we couldn't play, we became that band ... The Nuns.
"I fell into it, but I'm so glad I did."
In 2003, Escovedo nearly died as a result of a battle with hepatitis C. The next several years were hard, but the experience was eye-opening, he said.
Escovedo's 2006 album, "The Boxing Mirror," is comprosed of introspective music about his life during the illness and about his father, who had recently died. The album was difficult to write, he said, but critics consider it among his best work.
Since recovering from his illness, Escovedo, who has always written songs about the ups and downs of family life, said he's more critical about his material.
"What it gave me was a lot more joy in my life," he said. "I stopped drinking and stopped trying to run myself into the ground and was a little more conscious of what I'm putting inside of my body and more conscious about what it is I'm putting back into the world.
"Somehow, intuitively, I know that what I want to do is to produce music that people can feel good about and maybe will help them."