Alejandro Escovedo’s passions lift album about immigrants and the American dream

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Alejandro Escovedo at the Americana Music Honors and Awards on Sept. 12 in Nashville. | Getty Images

Texas-born to Mexican immigrants, Alejandro Escovedo, whose long career has spanned punk, rock and alt-country, describes his new album “The Crossing” (Yep Roc) as saying “more about me than any of my records without it being a record about me.”

Nominally, the songs are about two immigrants — Diego from Mexico, Salvo from Italy — whose Texas experiences with the American dream don’t match their expectations. But mentions of the Zeroes, the Stooges, Johnny Thunders, MC5, the Plugz and other marvels of American culture, as well as U.S. and Mexican writers and poets, put Escovedo in the middle of the story.

Recorded in Italy with the band Don Antonio and guests like fellow Texan Joe Ely and MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, “The Crossing” has a story that doesn’t bode well, even if it claims to have no ending.

“Sonica USA” rocks mightily, Tex-Mex elevates “Outlaw for You,” “Rio Navidad” gives it an emotional kick.

“The Crossing” includes instrumentals, an Italian lyric and a fluid timeline. But its most urgent songs — of intersecting journeys with divergent destinations — are reflective, passionate and defiant, like Escovedo himself.

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