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Texas Troubadour Leaves Disease in the Dust

Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

When Alejandro Escovedo says that he's feeling "really good," it should not be taken lightly.

The lauded Texas singer and songwriter -- who launched a solo career 14 years ago after tenures in the Nuns, Rank & File and the True Believers -- spent most of 2002-2005 battling a debilitating and near fatal case of Hepatitis C. He made it through, partly through the support of musical friends around the country who held fundraising concerts for the Alejandro Escovedo Living & Medical Expense Fund and contributed tracks to the album "Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo."

Now, Escovedo reports, "Everything feels better than it has in a long, long time -- maybe ever. I love the record that we made and the opportunity to work with John Cale and my health...Just being able to make a record was a great feet in itself. Just being able to sing these songs is pretty special."

"These songs" appear on "The Boxing Mirror," Escovedo's first new studio album since 2000 and ninth solo release overall. It was produced by Cale, the former Velvet Underground member who also did a track for "Por Vida."

Not surprisingly, some of the 11 tracks, some with lyrics by Escovedo's wife, Kim Christoff, are sober observations on mortality. But he doesn't want listeners thinking that it's only about his own ordeal.

"It's not just about me," notes Escovedo, 55. "A song like 'Evita's Lullaby,' which I wrote for my mom after my dad died, has nothing to do with what I went through. And 'Break This Time' and 'Dearhead [cq] on the Wall,' use my wife's poetry as lyrics, so I was kind of singing through another voice.

"And something like 'Take Your Place' is a song we wrote in the studio really. There are moments of just having fun and rocking out. It's not all a downer and depressing. Really."

Alejandro Escovedo performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $17.50. Call (734) 761-1800. or visit

Web Site: www.theark.org.

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