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Alejandro Escovedo follows his "urge" to rock

of the Oakland Press

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For a guy who cut his teeth playing punk (with the Nuns) and rowdy alternative country (Rank and File, the True Believers), it’s surprising to hear Alejandro Escovedo say that he “just had this urge to rock again” on his 10th solo album, “Street Songs of Love.”

“I just don’t feel like I’ve ever really made a rock record as a solo artist,” says Escovedo, 59, whose brothers Pete and Coke Escovedo were members of Santana and whose niece is Sheila E. “I hadn’t made a full-on rock record, so this one I wanted to have more of an edge to it. That was really my intention.”

And, noting his near-fatal brush with Hepatitis-C during the mid-’90s, he adds that, “I felt like if I was gonna do it before it was all said and done, I better do it this time.”

Escovedo took a novel approach to assembling the songs for “Street Songs of Love,” which includes guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen and Ian Hunter. He started out writing with good friend Chuck Prophet in Mexico, then came back to Austin, Texas, for a Tuesday night residency at the Continental Club where he’d try out the new songs in varying degrees of completion, sometimes showing them to his band, The Sensitive Boys, at sound check and make up lyrics on the stage that night.

“The audience grew with us and grew with the album over eight weeks,” Escovedo recalls. “By the end of it we had a set full of new songs, which was really cool. It was a real kind of chancey thing to do, in a way, but we could immediately tell whether we had something or it needed more work.

“Everything was very fresh, and we got really pumped up and excited about the songs because the audience response was good. And we took that fire into the studio with us when we recorded, which was great to do.”

Alejandro Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys perform Thursday, Oct. 14, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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