He was wearing a crisp cowboy hat and suspenders, his steel toed boots stepping down on a tambourine and a homemade kick-drum that was made out of an old, yellow briefcase. I first saw Shakey Graves perform in a small bar in Eugene and I was shocked to discover that such a large sound was being made by only one man.
The Austin native, Alejandro Rose-Garcia’s, voice erupts with an energy that is unique in modern day music. He is not just a musician, nor a wonderful performer, but he is a storyteller. He tells tales of his experiences on the road and his life in Austin and does so in such a way that is irresistibly intimate and relatable.
And when he plays he transforms, his music sends you from spinning across the dance floor to slowly swaying back and forth to high energy foot stomping all within a verse. His voice howls and then whispers, his feet calmly tap and his body bounces energetically. Shakey’s persona embodies the spirit of traditional Texas music. He not only physically resembles something of a young Townes Van Zandt, in his tall slim stature and his dark features, but his guitar picking does as well. His raspy voice adds in an element of Texas Blues; like he has been smoking cigarettes around a bonfire under the Texan stars.
My discovery of Shakey Graves has been a well kept secret for quite some time now, but I think it has been long enough. The live performance was all a gal from the North Country could ever dream of a Texan musician and his recorded tracks have a similar effect. Right now, his recorded music is limited, but watching and listening to live videos is worth investigating and I will leave you with a couple of my favorites. I am heading down south to visit family for a few weeks, but first I am making a detour to catch another live performance of his at Pickathon Music Festival outside of Portland. I will be back after with more new music to report. Until then, stay cool Juneau.
- KTOO is carrying live NPR coverage of tonight’s presidential candidate debate. Coverage begins at 5 p.m.
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