Various Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo

Two discs and 32 songs comprise this telling and compassionate tribute to cerebral Texas singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo, who fell ill from the effects of Hepatitis C in April 2003. The music community responded to his health crisis and financial repercussions with a stunning outpouring of generosity and concern that included benefit concerts across North America; Por Vida is the culmination of these activities. A portion of the proceeds from this release will benefit the Alejandro Escovedo Medical and Living Expense Fund, as well as spearhead an ongoing assistance effort for musicians afflicted with Hepatitis C. Named artist of the decade for the 1990s by No Depresssion, the roots-rocker writes songs that are at once very personal, but also universal stories that others gravitate towards, including his compatriots in the music industry. The more than 30 contributors to this project — a who’s who of the alt-country and roots music scene — illustrates the esteem that Escovedo’s fellow musicians have for him. Gems from Disc One include Jon Langford and Sally Timms’s delicate duet on "Broken Bottle,” Calexico’s moving take on "Wave,” and Los Lonely Boys appropriately picked rocker, "Castanets.” The Cowboy Junkies add some Canadian content with "Don’t Need You.” Disc two keeps adding more memorable cuts with the Jayhawks’ ghostly cover of "Last to Know” and Son Volt’s version of "Sometimes.” Appropriately, this tribute closes with an unreleased Escovedo composition "Break this Time.” (Or)