Shakey Graves and the Mesmerized Crowds

Yes, your friendly neighborhood Austin Music Minute maven is a fan of Alejandro Rose-Garcia‘s one-man powerhouse Shakey Graves, but even I was rather curious over what the fuss was about in the beginning, before I had the chance to see him live. A mutual friend introduced us before his show at the Hole In the Wall, a few years back. In his vagabond suit and gentleman’s hat, he very graciously offered a copy of Roll the Bones to me – his CD contained within a DIY hand-designed paper bag cover. It’s still in my collection. I thought to myself that this would surely be an intriguing experience.

That’s putting it mildly.

The moment he stepped upon the stage and struck the first chord, the volume of the crowd began to die down. Curious onlookers just entering the bar were staring as they slowly walked past. Shakey Graves was making a down-home sound, but something not quite ordinary. At all. With minimal, layered guitar chords, and keeping the beat by way of a battered old suitcase with a kick-pedal fashioned to it, Rose-Garcia made sounds far bigger than your average solo performer. Something was going on here. And damn good, too.

Another rather similar incident occurred during SXSW last year, when I happened upon a showcase at Papi Tino’s on E. 6th St. Without so much as an announcement, Shakey Graves sauntered up to the mic and began his set. People crossing the patio literally stopped and stared, completely caught off guard.

I have to agree with the music reviewers who’ve made this observation of his style:  Just when one might feel nothing much more innovative can be done with folk/roots music, along comes Shakey Graves. I do recommend that you see him perform at his Wednesday night residency show tonight at The Parish, 214 E. 6th St. Doors open at 8 p.m. Get there early; the crowds are bigger now, and rightly so. Recommended.


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