Saturday, July 26, 2014
It was almost exactly a year ago that I lost an entire day thanks to a simple YouTube recommendation. The recommendation was for Shakey Graves’ “Late July,” performed in a drainage ditch. I became entranced by his music, and a few hours later, had watched every Shakey Graves’ video I could find. (Shakey Graves is the stage name of Alejandro Rose-Garcia, an Austin native.) After all, he has earned Paste Magazine’s “Best of What’s Next” and NPR’s “10 Artists You Should Have Known” honors.
Last summer, I took a road trip to Cleveland to see Shakey Graves live. I arrived at a dimly lit bowling alley where I anxiously awaited his unique blend of folk and blues. His flatpicking of a slightly distorted guitar, beating of his kickdrum suitcase, and his gritty voice captivated the crowd within minutes of him take the stage. The audience leaned forward to hold onto his hushed whispers, listening as his stories unfolded on stage, only to end up stomping along as the music crescendoed into a sound more fitting for a 10 man band. At the end of the night, the whole crowd had fallen in love with Shakey and his music.
Since the performance, my friends have listened to me rave about this one-man band. I would like to thank Newport Folk Festival for booking this wonderful artist. Every one of us folk are in for a real treat come “Late July.”
– Mark Bender