Alejandro Escovedo performs at the North Oak Cliff Music Festival at Lake Cliff Park Nov. 3. The Austin-based singer-songwriter is touring behind his new album, “Big Station,” and he chatted with us by phone somewhere between Atlanta and Charlotte Tuesday.
How is the tour going?
Oh, the tour’s been great. The band’s sounding really great, so by the time we get to Dallas we should be burning it up.
You’ve played the Kessler before, right?
I love the Kessler. We played there three or four months ago, and I thought it was amazing. I’ve known (Kessler talent buyer) Jeff (Liles) since the old days of Deep Ellum when I was in the True Believers.
Jeff told me you kind of lost your foothold in Dallas after Deep Ellum started waning a bit.
I think that’s true. It’s been a while since I really felt at home in Dallas. We played at the Prophet Bar, and that was when Mike (Snider), who owns All Good Café, used to run it. Then we played Sons of Hermann Hall a few times, but not that many people came out. We just kind of lost contact with Dallas a little bit. But we love the Kessler. The way they treat you from the minute you walk in the door … the crowd was great. The show was great. I’d play there any time.
Who do you have with you on tour?
Chris Searles on drums. Bobby Daniel on bass and vocals. And Billy White on guitar and vocals.
I hear you are a San Francisco Giants fan. Congrats to them on going to the World Series again.
Yeah, that was a great game last night. I watched it. That’s the best sleep I’ve had in awhile, honestly. It’s funny because my record label is in L.A., and they’re all Dodgers fans. They took me to a Dodgers game, actually. It was the Dodgers versus the Giants, and we beat them. They put my name up on the scoreboard … it said “The Dodgers welcome Alejandro Escovedo.” It was nice, even though it was enemy territory.
On “Big Station,” there’s a song called “Sabor a Mi.” What can you tell us about that track?
It’s an old song written in 1951 by Álvaro Carrillo. He wrote this beautiful bolero, and my dad would always sing it to my mom. It was like the song you would play for every special occasion. It was like a standard. Growing up in California, every Chicano family had that record. I think it was Vikki Carr who recorded it … I used to hear it all the time. I feel like I can sing it a lot better now that we’ve been playing it (on tour), so we’ll probably do that one in Dallas.
What do you know about Oak Cliff?
I have a connection to Oak Cliff, and that’s that my uncle (Toby Renteria) had a tailor shop there. So all my cousins grew up there with the Vaughans … I was doing this show called “Mountain Stage.” And we were talking about this to the emcee (Oak Cliff native Larry Groce), and I started telling him about my family and that my uncle had a tailor shop in Oak Cliff. And he said, “Oh, your cousin is (golf pro Phil Renteria),” and he said, “Oh, we used to hang out together.”