Earlier this month songwriter Alejandro Escovedo invited the Observer to his Dallas apartment to discuss the long road he's traveled between albums. During the visit he played an acoustic rendition of "Heartbeat Smile," the first single off his new album, Burn Something Beautiful, released today. Recorded in Portland, Oregon, the album is the result of a collaboration with Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows and Peter Buck of R.E.M.
The album is Escovedo’s first in four years, the longest he’s ever gone between solo records. He says it’s among his favorite works after 14 solo albums, the fruits of a career spanning four decades and genres from punk to alt country. “I’ve been doing this for a long, long time,” he says. “And having a different perspective about having survived hepatitis C and having survived a hurricane and finding love in a very beautiful way had such a profound affect on the record and my writing.”
Escovedo’s band on the album includes guitarist Kurt Bloch of the Fastbacks, drummer John Moen of the Decemberists and vocalists Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and Kelly Hogan of Neko Case’s band, as well as an appearance by Los Lobos saxophonist Steve Berlin. "Truly one of my favorite recording experiences I've ever had," Escovedo says.
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(Video by Charlie L. Harper III)