In honor of Sherry, our lovely house guest from Austin, TX, today’s OBT is one of the many musicians who have made her hometown’s music scene what it is today. Austin native Shakey Graves is the alter-ego of actor/musician Alejandro Rose-Garcia. One of the darlings of SXSW, he describes himself as a one-man-band and his music as “post-folk.” Whatever it is, it’s completely brilliant, and I can’t seem to stop playing his music. He’s fun to look at, he’s great to listen to, and the homemade portable suitcase drum kit is badass.
I’m especially in love with his pacing. His music seems to race ahead, then take a mellow turn, then jump forward again, with these beautifully-timed pauses and unexpected breaths. His tempo is all over the place, and while all that could easily be confusing or awkward, he employs these tricks so skillfully, they makes for a very engaging listen. I’d love to see what his sheet music looks like. I can’t imagine how you would chart all that.
One of the things I sometimes do when I’m researching songwriters is to read their lyrics, and Shakey’s definitely didn’t disappoint. The son of a playwright, he’s also a wonderful wordsmith. Here’s one of my favorites:
“I’ve become a cold case
Bruised and black
Laying on a table with my eyes rolled back
A husband for dear Doe, Jane
I used to fit in your arms like a book in a shelf
Now i sit on the floor telling jokes to myself
I hope I don’t become a good boy slow and strong
Minding my manners and tagging along
A pet for my dear Doe, Jane
I used to nip at the heels and bay at the moon
Now I sit and stay like the good dogs do . . .”
Doe, Jane by Shakey Graves
I mentioned above that he is also an actor. In 2008, he played “The Swede” on Friday Night Lights, the guy Julie Taylor has a summer fling with, and he’s got a pretty decent list of credits on IMDB. Nonetheless, it sounds like he’s not really pursuing the acting thing at this point.
“I had trouble with how hard you have to sell yourself,” he said. “I know that sounds obvious, but it gets surreal when your car is filled with photos of your head. It’s like, ‘Me, me, me, me.’”
If, like me, you need more, the entire session is available on Vimeo. Enjoy!