Alejandro Escovedo

Record review

Texas Platters

Alejandro Escovedo

The Boxing Mirror (Back Porch)

Five years between albums can be a lifetime for most musicians, and no more so than for Austin's Alejandro Escovedo. The journeyman singer-songwriter-rocker's near death bout with hepatitis C left his loyal fan base holding their collective breath in hope that he would survive until such a feat was possible. The Boxing Mirror traces Escovedo's journey from his collapse in "Arizona" to his current resurrection into health, imagination, and enlightenment. It's accomplished with a variety of familiar soundscapes, from the boldly orchestral and sweetly intimate to the harshly raucous, all tweaked by producer and Velvet Underground visionary John Cale, whose sonic abrasion and density offers a contrast to his friend's past work. Escovedo diverges even further with the employment of lyrics written by his wife, poet Kim Christoff, on the austere and abstract "Deer Head on the Wall" and foreboding, psychedelic "Notes on Air." His genius is on bold display in the way he intertwines the raw beauty of tunes like "The Ladder," a ballad for Christoff, and "Evita's Lullaby," about his mother's love for his deceased father, with the urgent, Velvets-esque drone of "Break This Time" and the ferocious pounding and vivid imagery of attempted suicide on "Sacramento & Polk." To a stately military beat, Escovedo ties things up with the title track, the fighting metaphor relating both to his life and his father's. It's a battle he's won, for now, and the victory is thrilling and distinctively gracious. (CD Release Fiestas: Waterloo Records and the Cactus Cafe, Friday, May 12. Continental Club, Saturday, May 13.)


The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead
X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle