BY MICHAEL TOLAND
When the True Believers reunited in 2012 to pay tribute to their late manager/guru Brent Grulke, it was intended as a one-off, a celebration of the spark Grulke saw in them and no more. But the performance felt so good that Alejandro Escovedo, Jon Dee Graham, Javier Escovedo, Denny DeGorio and Rey Washam decided to keep going, booking gigs and mini-tours around their busy individual schedules. Most impressively, the quintet also did time in a recording studio.
The result was a pair of digital singles, now collected, along with some live cuts, on this quietly released CD. Summing up both the band and the idea of rock & roll itself, Graham’s midtempo declaration “Dedication” follows in the tradition of Alejandro’s recent autobiographical work, which makes it appropriate that the latter sings it. Javier’s burning “Gipsy Son” works a different, less introspective groove, simply cranking up the volume and reminding us what three loud guitars can do.
Speaking of which, the six-strings fly in full formation on the live songs, retrieved from a radio appearance. “Hard Road” lays waste to everything within a ten-mile radius, “Lucky Moon” kicks the debris to the curb and “So Blue About You” swirls the ashes into a tornado. The studio songs prove that the members won’t hold back their best material for their solo careers, while the live cuts make very plain that these 50- and 60-somethings still have vigorously beating rock & roll hearts. Dedication may be merely a teaser for bigger things to come, but it’s a nugget promising a richer vein down the road.
DOWNLOAD: “Gipsy Son,” “Hard Road,” “So Blue About You”