"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Concert Review: Robbie Fulks & Alejandro Escovedo

A pair of guitar-picking performers who have skirted mainstream popularity because of their choice of musical genre and irreverence toward the star-studded status quo strutted their stuff Saturday night at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Alejandro Escovedo, of Austin, Texas, and Robbie Fulks, of Chicago, headlined the college's Artists Forum showcase. Although I had never heard of either of these guys, I was a fan of both after the nearly three hour concert. The evening went from bluegrass/country to country/rock/blues all before my very own eyes.

A member of a family of professional musicians that includes the longtime collaborator of Prince (Sheila E), Escovedo began performing as a member of the Nuns, a punk-rock group in San Francisco. In the 1980s, Escovedo moved to Austin, where his music specialty evolved into what is viewed as "alternative country."

That's also the territory occupied by Fulks, who through the years has rankled and riled the performing and production staples who have made Nashville the country-music capital of the world by his irreverent approach to that genre.

Escovedo has yet to cross over to any type of mainstream audience, but he has a huge underground following, and many popular artists cite him as a strong influence on what they do. In 1998, No Depression magazine named him Artist of the Decade.

Fulks is known for his disdain of mainstream, modern country and the country-music industry in general. His performance featured improvised rearrangements of original songs, off-the-cuff musical humor, and covers of songs by such popular performers as Michael Jackson and Cher. Many of his compositions are silly, funny or spoof tunes, while others are serious country songs.

I bought both guitarts latest CD's: The Boxing Mirror by Escovedo and Revenge by Fulks and would highly recommend them to anyone who likes their music a little on the edge.

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