Saturday, Alejandro Escovedo presents the United Sounds of Austin, a star-studded journey through the capital city’s storied music history. A year ago almost to the day, the local icon staged what critics deemed one of the best shows of 2013 at the Moody Theater, putting on a four-hour retrospective of his career.
This show features Lucinda Williams, Roky Erickson, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, Rosie Flores, Kimmie Rhodes, Bells of Joy, Dr. James Polk, JT Van Zandt, my father’s band the Skunks, and many surprises.
For this year’s extravaganza, Escovedo’s delved deep into the musical roots of his stomping grounds for the past three-plus decades, inspired by a show he curated two and a half years ago called the United Sounds of America, which included other producers (Arlo Guthrie, Marshall Crenshaw) and other cities.
“I’ve acquired a lot of information from the Texas Music Museum,” he explains. “Clay Shorkey is a passionate man and devoted to the history of Texas music. Shorkey, a UT professor, pays for the museum to stay open out of his own social security check.”
Escovedo also got help from the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, which he laments is “completed underrated, understaffed, and underfunded.” Research was the key.
“In order for me to do this show, I’ve learned so much about the Eastside,” he reveals. “What it was, what it became, and what it is now.”
While, Escovedo doesn’t plan for this to be an annual show, he concedes its potential.
“It could be the first chapter of many chapters. Once you’re really into the history of Austin music, there’s no way that I can tell it in two and half hours with any sort of detail.”– William Harries Graham