(I was first introduced to this artist by Paige Newton of Austin-based Paige Newton Photography when I asked her what Texas bands were must-listens for her. Shakey Graves rolled off her tongue before I even finished asking the question, and since then I’ve been hooked on the music that Alejandro Rose-Garcia creates so effortlessly. When I asked my friend Brittany Price, who also currently resides in Texas, to write on an artist she was currently addicted to, her response was almost as immediate as Paige’s several months ago. I think you’ll take to Shakey Graves just as quickly.)
We recognize a place in the way a person speaks. Whether it’s their inflection, local vocabulary or simply the way words seem to roll off the tongue, we know. In a group of people, it hardly takes minutes before we point to the Georgian and the Boston native. West coast-ers can pick out someone from the east coast without laying eyes on them. It works both ways.
Say what you will, there’s a certain beauty in being so closely tied to your home. It’s a unique weight that shows up with each word. Music is no different. With a few strums, taps or snaps, a musician takes his audience home.
Although I grew up in Georgia, Texas has become my home in the past few years. My ears have learned the difference between a Georgia drawl and a Texas twang. I’ve also come to know and love the gritty, raw pluck of Texas musicians.
In my mind, no modern musician embodies true, deep Texas soul as well as Alejandro Rose-Garcia, aka Shakey Graves. This Austin native sings stories in his uniquely Texan way. They’re a little rough-around-the-edges but it’s difficult to imagine his gravelly voice painting any other sort. Plucking at his guitar, the musician belongs to a one-man-band, keeping beat with a rigged up kick-drum and tambourine combo. Although he sings about places from California to Georgia, the rattle in Shakey Graves‘ serious, but never-too-serious, voice always points us back to his roots.
In fact, everything about the musician speaks to his southern roots. Usually dressed in 1940’s style suspenders, slacks and fedora, this Texas boy makes sure to pair the ensemble with his old, broken-in cowboy boots. His stage name, Shakey Graves, was created while joking with friends around a campfire and it stuck.
If you dig Jack White’s grit, The Tallest Man on Earth’s stories and the homemade sound of The Lumineers, you’ll fall for Shakey Graves. Every song will have you tapping your toes and turning the volume up just a bit louder. You may also experience an inexplicable desire to get into some trouble, just a little. In this situation, we will assume no legal responsibility for what happens next.
Currently, Shakey Graves is touring within his home state of Texas. We’re hoping that one day soon he’ll get the urge to head up towards Nashville. We can handle his brand of soul, we think.