For a just a regular dude that’s turned into a big deal, Shakey Graves aka Alejandro Rose-Garcia is not that normal, creatively speaking. His hometown of Austin knows what’s up. The city’s mayor at the time proclaimed Feb. 9, 2012 as Shakey Graves Day, which the twenty-six year old has utilized over the years as his own indie release date. For three days, he puts all of his music on Bandcamp for free downloads, and every year he releases a unique EP, unreleased material, or live album. After three days, the freebies disappear until the next year. Well played, sir.
“I think the way that my music has been absorbed is pretty much through Internet culture for the most part,” Rose-Garcia told The 13th Floor in March. “It’s less of album sales and radio play, and more of YouTube hunting and word of mouth, and I feel like that’s an inherently younger way of acquiring music in the first place.”
Shakey Graves performed last year on the Jackson Hole Live outdoor stage—solo and as a power trio. His solo tunes included a Gibson hollow body electric while singing and playing a suitcase kick drum that was positioned behind him and played with the heel of his foot. To this fan, that’s his bread and butter, and plenty engaging despite the chatty nature of the event, which is often a challenge for solo acts. Once the rhythm section was added, his guitar tone became super-fuzzed and the adrenaline was on a punkish high while the crowd responded with their own energy. The quiver of rusty blues fingerpicking, indie rock, raw grunge, and alt-folk all fit what is irresistible—his gruffly hip voice.
“I’ve always really loved guitar forward, twinkly loud music, so it’s definitely a little bit more in a psych-rock sort of vain right now, and more of a garage grunge music, so it’s like grungy-country-folk music,” he explained. “I listen to a lot of psych right now. Some of the best stuff coming out right now are some amazing psych bands. [My music] always changes, hopefully, it’ll change until the day I die. It’s advancing into a different sound, for sure.
Shakey Graves, first grabbed the attention of indie music fans with 2011 album Roll the Bones, which became one of Bandcamp.com’s best-selling and most-streamed offerings. The songs were presented in a lo-fi package, yet endearing to fans of such raw recordings. His 2014 sophomore release And the War Came took him from an up-and-coming Austin talent to nationally renowned, and the album remained in the top 10 of the Americana Music Association’s airplay chart for nearly a year. His latest release is the 2015 EP of b-sides and rarities, Nobody’s Fool.
Most recently, he was recording at the late Levon Helm’s recording studio in Woodstock, New York after meeting Levon’s daughter, Amy, backstage at a festival.
“It just kind of all came together in a serendipity, magical sort of way and it was perfect,” Rose-Garcia explained. “So we rented a house out in the woods, and would spend nine to twelve hours every day in this magical barn, just acting crazy and living the Levon Helm Woodstock dream, which is just being ridiculously stoned and making the weirdest music that you humanly can.”
Opener Calliope Musicals is a cheerful, psychedelic party folk band, also from Austin. Their high-energy live performance focuses on involving the crowd and a squad of musicians will deliver vibraphone, tribal drums, bass, lead guitar and collective vocals. The band “exudes feel-good vibes that aim to swallow listeners and spit them out as happier versions of their former selves.”
With this Jackson date falling the night after a triple bill for Shakey Graves at Red Rocks with The Wood Brothers and Devil Makes Three, I think we’re in for an inspired treat of a show.
A big summer is planned at The Pink Garter Theatre, which just announced Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (Sept. 11) and Buckethead (July 15) as well as White Buffalo (June 15), Steven "Ragga" Marley (June 19), Blitzen Trapper (July 9), Grand Teton Music Festival presents Time for Three (July 20), The Claypool Lennon Delirium (July 25), and Fitz and the Tantrums (Aug. 31).
Shakey Graves with Calliope Musicals, 9 p.m. Saturday at Pink Garter Theatre. $20-$23. PinkGarterTheatre.com, 733-1500.
WED: Songwriter’s Alley Open Mic featuring Bo Elledge (8 p.m., Silver Dollar)
FRI: Mike Hurwitz & the Aimless Drifters (7:30 p.m., Silver Dollar)
SAT: Shakey Graves with Calliope Musicals (9 p.m., Pink Garter Theatre), Mike Hurwitz & the Aimless Drifters (7:30 p.m., Silver Dollar)
MON: JH Hootenanny (6 p.m., Dornan’s)
TUES: One Ton Pig (7:30 p.m., Silver Dollar)