I’ve recently grown infatuated with a one man tour de force that goes by the alias Shakey Graves. Austin, TX’s Alejandro Rose-Garcia explains the origin of this moniker in the video that you can find below. The story is worth a listen, as is the music on Rose-Garcia’s debut LP Roll the Bones. His relentless fingerpicking style, marked by impeccable timing, is the engine that drives this powerful solo project. Listen to the title track, here:
When performing live, Shakey Graves sits atop a jury-rigged kick drum / suitcase, typically decked out in suspenders, fedora and leather boots. He looks as if he has just leapt from a train whose most recent stop was in 1936. The look may be a touch on the gimmicky side, but the music delivers with honest, clever writing placed in front of a retro sound that never reduces itself to a cheap imitation of an earlier era. Even when Rose-Garcia covers Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”, a song typically relegated to shitty open mic nights, he manages to keep things fresh by stripping the song down to its bass line.
Shakey Graves was featured in a trio of SXSW showcases last week. He has stayed busy throughout March playing weekly gigs at The Hole in the Wall in Austin alongside a rotating cast of local staples like The Gourds. In April, Rose-Garcia will take the project north as part of Pitzer College’s Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival outside of Los Angeles, with plans for a more extensive tour tentatively planned for fall. If Rose-Garcia’s traveling suitcase wanders toward the Midwest, I’ll be running to meet him at the depot. This sound is too much fun to miss. Name your price for a download of Roll the Bones via Bandcamp.
Written by Rob Peoni