McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica continues to add to my "great shows" list and last night was right up there with the best. It was Alejandro Escovedo's return to that stage after many years and he completely owned it.
Amy Cook started us out with a short but shining set of classic Austin Singer/Songwriter music. Her style actually reminds me a lot of David Garza. I really enjoyed it and will be looking to buy her new CD when it comes out. David Pulkingham, Alejandro's guitarist, came out and played a couple of songs with her. It was a wonderful pairing.
After a short break, Alejandro came down the stairs joined by David, and Matt Fish (on cello). They started with older material, with Alejandro often telling the stories that went with the songs. First came songs from Gravity. Then, the twin songs Juarez and Rosalie. The three of them burned through these songs with hot solos by both Matt and David. They finished the early part of the show with a great story about "Dearhead on the Wall" from Boxing Mirror, followed by another potent rendition. Then came a big surprise for me: Alejandro introduced his co-writer for Real Animal and long time friend, Chuck Prophet. Chuck brought his own guitar (thus my title, 3 guitars and their cello... And yes that is a play on the title of the Emmylou, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Miller tour) and joined the band for a long section of songs from the latest CD, "Real Animal". Now remember, this is all acoustic. But the four of them rocked the place like the three guitar army that they were. And this wasn't just Chuck strumming along and singing some harmony. He did some guitar solos and sang some lead on a couple of songs. He even told us a great story about buying jeans in Europe. Near the end, Amy came out to join them on "Sensitive Boys". The harmonies were beautiful. But there was more to come. They returned for their encore with Amy, David, Matt and Alejandro, and instead of playing on stage, they walked out to the center of the room. Now understand, this is not a big hall. It only seats 125 or so and we are cramped in there. So, this move turns an intimate show into more of a living room type show. They did several songs, but finished with a couple of covers. First, "All the Young Dudes". Amy's interpretation was sooooo good and the audience eagerly joined in for the chorus. They then finished the night with the Ian Hunter song, "I Wish I Was Your Mother". It was a beautiful ending to a perfect evening.