The Austin Chronicle

Alejandro Escovedo Album Review

La Cruzada (Yep Roc)

By Raoul Hernandez, November 19, 2021, Music

Recorded in Italy with native backers Don Antonio, 2018's The Crossing bridges back to the immigrant soul of Alejandro Escovedo's 2002 audio play By the Hand of the Father.

Folkloric to punk, classically rock, idealistic and disillusioned, "The Crossing proves another way forward for our one-man Johnny Thunders, Joey Ramone, and Neal Cassady," opined the Chronicle. Noirish ("Footsteps in the Shadows"), rootsy ("Texas Is My Mother"), sneering ("Teenage Luggage"), Stonesy ("Something Blue"), hookish ("Outlaw for You"), balladic ("Silver City"), modern ("MC Overload"), Escovedo's tale of two Latin teens meeting in Galveston sprawls an hourlong travelogue through a pop culture nirvana turned xenophobic dystopia.

Originally sold-out on Record Store Day 2020 and charting on Billboard, its iteration en español received widespread re-release this August. Translated by Escovedo and principal singer Alex Ruiz of Del Castillo, La Cruzada further populates crucial vocal support from Austin castanets queen Patricia Vonne and San Antonio's Vanessa Del Fierro. Don Antonio Gramentieri intones Italian and the maestro English on melting duet "Volador."

For his part, Ruiz lends prowling drama to a hungry storyline. The frontman's rich Spanish vowelry dominates the stripped back, Lone Star ambience of "Tejas Es Mi Madre," "Cuantas Veces," y "Lluvia de Flor de Cerezo." One misses Escovedo's overripe croon and derision, yet when he and Ruiz share a mic on "Bandido Para Ti," a Marfa lights moment flashes across the entirety of The Crossing/La Cruzada.


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