In the four years since the breakup of his acclaimed band, the True Believers, Alejandro Escovedo has retained his position as perhaps the most talented songwriter and bandleader on the vibrant Austin music scene through some restless collaborations and piercing and luminous shows with an aggregation called the Alejandro Escovedo orchestra. At the same time, he's done his best to cope with a lifetime's worth of problems, from having to go back to work at a record store to the more searing jolt of his estranged wife's suicide. On Gravity, his long-awaited solo album, Escovedo's courtly, drawing-room rock has accordingly taken on a revelatory, mythic feel, full of riveting, pleading vocals and stately melody lines delivered on acoustic guitar. Escovedo almost never travels outside of Texas; this rare--maybe last--Chicago appearance, with a four-piece band, will consist of only one set, starting at 8 PM. It's part of the first night of FitzGerald's annual American Music Festival, which presents a variety of roots music on two stages, in toto well worth the $15 ticket. Jazzman Lester Stephens plays at 5 PM, zydeco accordionist Boozoo Chavis at 6 and 9 PM, singer Marcia Ball at 7:30 and 10:45 PM; and Paul Cebar & the Milwaukeeans at 10 and 11:30 PM. Thursday, FitzGeralds, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn; 708-788-2118.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Todd Wolfson.