Alejandro Escovedo: With These Hands

Alejandro Escovedo
With These Hands
(Ryko)

Austin-based singer songwriter Alejandro Escovedo is revered as one of the finest musical talents working today. It was with the release of 1996’s With These Hands that Al first began to receive the acclaim he deserves. Remastered and annotated with historical context, With These Hands finally gets its due as one of the more important albums of the last ten years. Weaving Latin, Asian and Middle Eastern influences against barroom rock and tempered country ballads, the album spills over with a modest eclecticism that is not the least bit labored or trite. A guest appearance by Willie Nelson, adding his signature guitar stylings and a duet vocal to “Nickel and a Spoon,” is a particular standout moment. It was during these sessions that Escovedo was first diagnosed with Hepatitis C, for which he is currently undergoing treatment. While the illness has by necessity slowed his pace somewhat (especially as far as touring is concerned), he is still active in the musical scene having released a handful of critically acclaimed albums over the past eight years. The bonus disc of this re-issue features live radio appearances and performances of the album’s material from the 1996 SXSW conference. With These Hands is a wonderful reminder of what a talented musician Shelia E’s uncle is.