SXSW 2012: Bruce Springsteen joins Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo


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When Texas rocker Joe Ely asked, “I wonder if there’s another guitar player in the house?” on Wednesday night at the Austin Music Hall in Austin, Texas, who stepped up to the plate? Not one of the countless Lone Star State pickers on hand for the 30th annual Austin Music Awards show, but the Boss himself.

Bruce Springsteen and Ely joined with New York musician Garland Jeffreys for the powerhouse finale of Texas singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo’s set, which included a rendition of “Midnight Train,” written by Ely’s Flatlanders bandmate Jimmie Dale Gilmore, as well as “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad” by Woody Guthrie and the Weavers’ Lee Hays.


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Springsteen took the guitar solo when Jeffreys tackled the Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden” and also pitched in with vocals on Escovedo’s “Always a Friend.” The two had played the song together previously in Houston, which Escovedo later described as “three minutes that changed my life.” The remark harked back to Springsteen’s lyric in “No Surrender’ about how “We learned more from a three-minute record than we ever learned in school.”


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-- Randy Lewis

Photo? Bruce Springsteen and Alejandro Escovedo with Joe Ely, left, and Karla Manzur at the Austin Music Awards. Credit: Todd V. Wolfson.