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Romeo's Escape

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Album Review

After leaving the Blasters (and ending a short stint as the post-Billy Zoom guitarist in X), Dave Alvin kicked off his solo career with this album, in which he indulged in his passions for blues, country, and roots rock in stronger and grittier form than he had in his previous bands. The album's eclecticism, however, proved to be its commercial Achilles heel; in America, it was marketed as a country album under the title Romeo's Escape, even though the title track was the album's fiercest rocker, while in Europe it was called Every Night About This Time after a superb country weeper Alvin wrote for the set, but was pitched as a rock album. Needless to say, most everyone was confused and few people heard the record under either title, which is a real shame. If Alvin was still getting his sea legs as a vocalist on Romeo's Escape, his emotional conviction and intelligent phrasing outweigh his somewhat limited range, and he's rarely rocked harder in the studio (with Tony Gilkyson, Greg Leisz, and David Hidalgo helping to kick up some dust in his backing band). The re-recordings of several Blasters classics ("Long White Cadillac," "Border Radio," "Jubilee Train") bring out sharp new angles in the songs that are worth hearing, and the rest of the lineup proves he had lots of new material worthy of his talents (especially "Every Night About This Time" and "I Wish It Was Saturday Night"). While Dave Alvin's work would get stronger and more confident with time, Romeo's Escape left no doubt he had the goods to be a first-rate frontman, while his gifts as a guitarist and writer remained as strong as ever.


Born: 1955 in Downey, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Dave Alvin helped to kick-start the American roots rock scene in the early '80s with the band the Blasters, and has since gone on to a career as a solo performer, songwriter, producer, and sideman that's been as well respected as it is eclectic. Born in Downey, California in 1955, Alvin was raised by a family of music fans, and as teenagers Dave and his older brother Phil immersed themselves in blues, rockabilly, and vintage country sounds, collecting rare records and attending nightclub performances...
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