Alejandro Escovedo is working on a new album that is being produced by Velvet Underground co-founder John Cale.

Alejandro Escovedo is working on a new album that is being produced by Velvet Underground co-founder John Cale. Due early next year, the as-yet-untitled set will be the singer/songwriter's first full-length since being sidelined by serious illness in 2003 and the inaugural release under a new deal with Back Porch Records.

An acclaimed solo artist since the early 1990s, Escovedo began his career with the San Francisco-based act the Nuns, co-founded the cowpunk band Rank and File and recorded with his brother Javier as the True Believers. An intense bout with Hepatitis C led to his collapse after a 2003 performance in Phoenix that prevented him from touring and recording.

In the meantime, friends and colleagues banded together to stage a series of benefit concerts and release last year's "Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo" (Or Music). The two-disc set benefited a trust set up to pay costs associated with his ongoing treatment. Lucinda Williams, Cowboy Junkies, the Minus 5, Steve Earle, Son Volt and Los Lonely Boys were among the contributors, as was Escovedo himself, who added the previously unreleased "Break This Time," recorded in April 2003 and produced by Chris Stamey (Sneakers, db's).

Escovedo has two California dates scheduled in December, including a San Francisco show with Los Lobos, and has a handful of January dates on the books that are likely the start of full U.S. tour.

Here are Escovedo's confirmed tour dates:

Dec. 15: San Jose, Calif. (Germania Ballroom)
Dec. 16: San Francisco (The Fillmore w/Los Lobos)
Jan. 5: Alexandria, Va. (The Birchmere)
Jan. 6: Annapolis, Md. (Rams Head On Stage)
Jan. 7: Philadelphia (World Cafe Live)
Jan. 27-28 Birmingham, Ala. (Workplay Theatre)