As Shakey Graves, Alejandro Rose-Garcia from Austin, Texas plays a gnarly composite of blues and folk as a one-man-band of epic sonic proportions. The sound emitted from his hollow body guitar, mildly distorted amp and suitcase drum belie the young singer’s lean frame. He fingerpicks while keeping time with a double-pedal kick drum, hitting a snare fitted into his suitcase drum and a tambourine fashioned to its side. And when he sings, Rose-Garcia unleashes an unearthly howl. Gritty groans and sexy moans carry his stories of both accepting and trying to overcome personal challenges masked with old-timey Western imagery.
The son of artistic parents — his father was a longtime manager of the Paramount Theatre and his mother is an actress, director and writer — Rose-Garcia was always encouraged to pursue his musical and dramatic ambitions, and he clearly feeds off the wildly different personalities and talents of creative communities.
After his early stumbles in New York, he quickly earned respect in an inventive weirdo folk community; his stories of a Los Angeles scene centered in a garment warehouse converted into a loft/speakeasy have Moulin Rouge-level craziness. In Austin he’s connected with a community of musicians focused around Annie Street, while also bonding with indie bands such as Marmalakes, the Sour Notes, Wild Child, Hello Wheels, Whiskey Shivers and more.
Of course, none of those rock or country-influenced bands sound very much like Shakey Graves, and Rose-Garcia said their kinship is founded mostly on hard work and a desire to make the most of their talent in Austin and beyond.
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