If straight-ahead rock with hints of punk, new wave, and ’50s rock and roll is your deal, Escovedo offers it in spades. Street Songs of Love has plenty of chugging riff-driven rock and roll like “Anchor.” The song, like most of his, is full of great hooks musically and lyrically, along with rocking guitar full of bends, double-stops, and plain ol’ soul. Things rock through the first third of the record until Escovedo comes up for air with “Down in the Bowery,” a tender ballad with guest vocal from Ian Hunter.
Speaking of guests, the rocker “Faith” includes Bruce Springsteen, which is fitting because Escovedo’s music sometimes resembles a punkier version of The Boss’ music. You’d think it would be a good capper for a batch of personal rock songs. But there’s one more surprise…
Escovedo and the band wrap with the instrumental “Fort Worth Blue,” a gorgeous, haunting song with a guitar part that will roll around in your head. It’s the perfect finish, as the songs to that point are full of the impact you get from a good songwriter. Lyrically and musically, it’s a great listen and an intense experience. With Street Songs of Love, Escovedo should earn himself a spot on many “best of 2010” lists.
This article originally appeared in VG’s Sept. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.