When Alejandro Escovedo and his backing band known as Don Antonio set up behind the Tiny Desk, their first sounds were blistering loud. That’s when we broke the news: We wouldn’t amplify Alejandro’s voice. We got a slightly sullen look from the band; but despite the toned-down volume, they were all still amped up.
The musician, who once opened for the Sex Pistols, obliged with a smile and seemed to appreciate the difference between being pelted with spit and debris by punk rock fans and being showered with loving appreciation in the NPR Music office.
Escovedo pulled the three-song set from The Crossing, the most recent chapter in his ongoing odyssey and a typically hard-rocking, literate saga about two teenagers looking for their American Dream of rock and roll and beat poetry.
The close quarters of the Tiny Desk allows for a kind of backstage insight into the musical and visual interplay between Escovedo and the veteran Italian band Don Antonio. Lead guitarist Antonio Gramentieri is the perfect foil for Escovedo, who adds a heavy dose of edginess to the sound with his power strumming.
Alejandro Escovedo fans are a close-knit group. We’ve followed his lead and have been treated to various musical aggregations over the years. But as you see in this video, this setup seems to be working just fine and may be his strongest yet.
- “Teenage Luggage”
- “Something Blue’”
- “Sonica USA”
Alejandro Escovedo: lead vocal, guitar; Antonio Gramentieri: vocals, guitar; Denis Valentini: bass; Matteo Monti: drums; Nicola Peruch: keyboard; Gianni Perinelli: tenor sax; Franz Valtieri: baritone sax
Producers: Felix Contreras, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kimani Oletu, Kara Frame, CJ Riculan; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Adelaide Sandstrom; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR