Alejandro Rose-Garcia, known as Shakey Graves, is my favorite Austin act of the year and possibly my favorite local performer ever. NPR just named him one of, “10 Artists You Should Have Known in 2012,” and they couldn’t have made a better selection. Aside from breaking hearts with his music, he played “The Swede” on Friday Night Lights a few years back as the heart throb life guard who lured little Julie Taylor away from Matt Saracen. As much as I was obsessed with the Julie/Matt love fest, I can’t blame the girl for falling for his big ol’ brown eyes and precious little smile.
Maybe it was because we were at White Horse, a very picturesque cowboy-hipster bar, but I felt like we’d stepped into another time during Shakey’s performance Saturday night. The crowd at White Horse always cracks me up, full of a weird combination of hipsters smoking their American Spirits sipping on Lonestar, old white-haired men trolling for young chicks who want to learn how to two-step, and tattoo-less people like me who just love music. Ryan Gosling supposedly graced the venue when he was in town shooting his flick, so it’s obviously the place to hang. Just don’t tell the college students – let’s keep east Austin sorority girl free for at least a few more years.
The man dripped sexuality during his set and every single person in the room, girl or boy, could not take their eyes off his sweaty, gorgeous self. A group of drunken, holiday party goers dressed in Liederhausen of all things were dancing around in front of the stage, hopping on each other’s backs and making all kinds of noise, but the crowd was so mesmerized by Shakey they didn’t even mind.
He played a strong, stunning set, mixing tunes from Roll the Bones and Donor Blues, eliciting cheers after every song and bringing even the “coolest” of east Austinites to a slight sway. Not much of a talker between songs, when he did interject it was pithy and cute. Exactly what I expected.
“Doe, Jane” brings up so many fantastic emotions and the intense combination of his phenomenal, haunting voice paired with his flat-picking drove me almost insane. After cooing his mumbly lyrics in “Word of Mouth,” he closed with one of his more enthusiastic numbers, “Late July,” and the entire room started dancing in some form or fashion. While the set was too short and we could have listened to him all night, he was genuinely friendly after his show, shaking hands and taking photos with lustful fans. A charming Texan man if I ever saw one.
And yes, ladies, he does apparently have a girlfriend. However, after watching him play, I think I’m ruined for all other men. I’ll probably say things like, “Why can’t you pull off a cowboy hat like Shakey?” and “What do you mean you don’t play guitar?” All gents should do themselves a favor and spin his album next time they’re trying to seduce a pretty gal. Pour her some whiskey and watch her heart melt into your hands.
Here’s a list of where he’s playing over the next few months. If you don’t live in Austin, consider a road trip! He’s worth it.
- Thursday, December 20 at The Parish – Shakey Graves • Hikes • The Cymatic with Linen Closet • Greg Mullen and The Cosmic American Band
- Saturday, December 29 at the Hole in the Wall – The Outlaw Show: Shakey Graves, Alex Culbreth & The Dead Country Stars, Fog & Bone
- Friday, February 22 at The Parish – He’s My Brother She’s My Sister with Paper Bird, Shakey Graves
You can download his albums on his website for a donation that in his words, “go directly to keeping Shakey Graves in clean socks and bread.” And for your viewing pleasure, here’s Shakey Graves hanging out in a storm ditch, explaining how he got his name and strumming “Late July.” Note the suspenders.