If Escovedo grew into his talent gradually, it might be because youthful irreverence — a staple of rock from the get-go — never really suited him. He’s like a musical Patricia Clarkson, an artist who had to wait until his body caught up to the maturity of his voice and the gravity of his preoccupations. Escovedo can be mischievous, as on his greatest rocker “Castanets,” when he makes an insult sound flirtatious (or maybe a flirtation sound insulting): “I like her better when she walks away.” But he’s most convincing when he’s at his most melancholy, and even his humor generally has a weary, hangdog quality about it.
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Sat, Nov 19
The great thing about Escovedo the live performer is that he inhabits those dark, doubting songs with a boisterous energy that consistently puts him on the right side of the thin line between self-pity and catharsis. Back in excellent form after a debilitating bout with Hepatitis C, Escovedo is currently touring with his string quartet, and continuing to challenge himself at an age when most rockers are resting on their laurels. •