It's not for nothing that Texan-born rock and roll veteran Alejandro Escovedo is heralded as the consummate songwriter's songwriter. Much like John Hiatt and Richard Thompson, Escovedo possesses the proverbial Midas touch at welding memorable lyrics with catchy chord progressions and crafting them into hooks. Like all master craftsmen, however, Escovedo's work doesn't initially betray the great skill that goes into making it. Moreover, on his latest album Real Animal, Escovedo manages to write about his musical past without exploiting it or resorting to cheap rock myth-mongering. Yes, Escovedo opened for the last-ever Sex Pistols show with his first band the Nuns. Yes, he saw Sid and Nancy's bodies get carted out of the Chelsea Hotel. Yes, another of his old bands, Rank And File, was at the cutting edge of cowpunk and alt-country long before such terms fell into vogue. But Escovedo does what so few others can by finding the humanity, wisdom, and songs in that pile of worn guitar cases and fading memories. When Escovedo looks back, he does so not as a caricature, but as an adulta creature found all too rarely even among the most wrinkled rock and rollers. With Red Jacket Mine.