Release Date: Jun 5, 2012
Record label: Fantasy
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter
"Dylan dropped acid in the limelight," sings Tex-Mex singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo on "Headstrong Crazy Fools," savoring the recklessness of youth with a James Jamerson bass line and a Lou Reed rhyme scheme. Escovedo nods to his forebears here, as on 2008's Real Animal. "Bottom of the World" and "San Antonio Rain" echo "Queen Jane Approximately" and "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," young Dylan's means applied to different ends: those of a 61-year-old rock & roll lifer staring down hard-luck cases with unsparing empathy.
Big Station is songwriter Alejandro Escovedo's 11th album, and his third consecutive collaboration with producer Tony Visconti. This pairing and Escovedo's writing partnership with Chuck Prophet have already been fruitful, but Big Station, with its headstrong rock & roll heart, is also more ambitious than either of its predecessors. The album is full of diverse musical and production notions ranging from the Clash's Sandinista! to records by Tinariwen, Rachid Taha, Lou Reed, and Mink DeVille, but bear Escovedo's own indelible signature.
With a brazen swagger drawn from Alejandro Escovedo’s punk roots, the 61-year-old songwriter/yowler declares, “I can take a punch, I can take a swing…” on Big Station’s opening “Man of the World”—suggesting his 12th studio release is an action record. Over a dozen songs, the Rank and File founder never disappoints. With strains of “Forever Young”-era Dylan and the acoustic side of Neil Young, “Bottom of the World” paints a sweeping portrait of the dissolute, while the low-riding urgency of artistic consumption “Headstrong Crazy Fool” is laced with one slithering guitar line, a tiny keyboard figure and an unwavering beat, driven by creativity, desire and bad decisions.
Popular recognition has come later in life for Alejandro Escovedo. A true rock and roll veteran, Escovedo has built a long and steadily respected solo career that rose out of stints in ‘70’s punk-rock outfit The Nuns and ‘80’s roots revivalists True Believers. Drawing from his wealth of influences and experiences, he has released ten top-notch albums since 1992, each one showcasing varying musical arrangements and divergent stylistic tendencies that envelop the always first-rate songwriting.
"I'm a man of the world/It ain't no thing," crows Alejandro Escovedo on Big Station siren "Man of the World," the kick-off rocker's rejoining rhyme delivered in a full barroom brawl flush. "I can take a punch/I can take a swing!" Austin's champion middleweight has thrown one roundhouse after another with famed Bowie/T. Rex/Thin Lizzy producer Tony Visconti for three straight LPs, and while a trilogy grouping of Real Animal (2008), Street Songs of Love (2010), and now Big Station seems inevitable given their interlocking themes of redemption through a lifetime of rock and punk, each stands alone.