Rolling Stone magazine’s David Fricke once proclaimed that “musically, Alejandro Escovedo is in his own genre.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Escovedo has played it all: punk rock with The Nuns, “cowpunk” with Rank And File and the True Believers, and more recently the role of the Americana troubadour both solo and with his accompanying string orchestra.
2006 finds Escovedo releasing his first studio album in five years. Having fought a serious battle with advanhepatitisitus C beginning in 2002, “The Boxing Mirror” is both an album reflecting on Escovedo’s near-death experience, as well as embracing his convalescence and rebirth. It’s this duality that draws us, the listener, in. Masterfully produced by The Velvet Underground’s John Cale, “The Boxing Mirror” is enveloped in a shroud of immediacy that drives not only the songs but the album as a whole. Here we learn that Alejandro is playing for keeps — the album is very much in-the-moment. Longtime fans will note the already gripping track from Escovedo’s album “Bourbonitus Blues” is re-cut here with even more force, venom, and grit than before.
After the album’s final hidden track, we are once again remind that Fricke was right, Alejandro in a genre all his own. It’s his game, he owns it, we just watch from the peanut gallery and hope to keep up.