Feature singer, songwriter and guitarist, Shakey Graves, is best known for his stripped down one-man-band fusion of blues, folk and rock. Born Alejandro Rose-Garcia, an Austin native, he shares telling stories from the road and his natural way of life that is open to letting things find him and not the other way around. Coincidentally, this artist never settles for anything less than a Stetson.
1. How much of the year do you spend on the road?
I can’t even remember, as of this year the road has thankfully become all-consuming. Currently I get to go home about ten days a month, so we are roaming something like 250 days out of the year.
2. What city/venue do you most look forward to?
Gosh that’s tough, there are many winners. Every time I can get to the City Museum in St. Louis my life gets little better. It’s like an apocalyptic jungle gym of human beauty…it has to be my favorite place in the United States. I am also a huge bowler so Ive got to visit Mahall’s in Cleveland (which happens to be a great venue and food destination as well)…The Hamilton in DC is a real treat as well…amazing staff, wonderful club.
3. Give us a good tour story.
A few days before my 26th birthday, I was on my first big support tour with Old Crow Medicine show in the Maritime providences of Canada and met a wonderful man named Farmer Ted. He and his wife had come to the show and afterwards I happened to run into them at a Halifax pub. He explained that he had actually built me a custom cigar box guitar and amplifier but had left them at home because he thought that we wouldn’t meet. Turned out that he lives in a town called Antigonish which was smack dab on my way back home and he explained that his wife worked at the pub in town and and the stars aligned in such a way that I was driving through it on my birthday. So alone, in Canada on my birthday I suddenly found myself with a wonderful instant family, drinking beer and eating curry in a quaint Canadian pub. Not only was the cigar box guitar an amazing and unique piece of art, the whole experience was one of the most meaningful gifts Ive received…I learned that sometimes, family is where you find it.
4. Tour essentials? What can’t you leave home without?
Dice, guitar picks, assorted hats, knee high moccasins (just in case), a suit, a disturbing amount of underwear, not enough socks, my custom louisville slugger, and at least one empty bag for to fill with all the magic charms, coffee mugs, truck nuts, bandanas, magnets, and stickers I acquire.
5. When did a hat become part of your “uniform”?
January 1st 2007….seriously, I couldn’t handle hats before then and suddenly I awoke into a new year, found an old hat in a friends car and suddenly it fit in every way. Hats found me.
6. Why Stetson?
Why settle for anything less?
7. Any specific inspiration/influence for this upcoming album? Do you have a songwriting “process” or is it an ongoing thing?
This album is all about getting what you wish for and all of the horrible beauty that comes along with that. I wished for the road and it found me, I wished for love and I found it, and the two ripped at each other throughout the writing process, in the end I really let the songs unfold naturally and it actually took a direction that surprised me in many ways. It’s a massive departure from my past recordings yet it is still very much done in the classic Shakey way, at home, with friends, flaws and all.
8. What creative outlets/hobbies do you have outside of music?
Bowling, drawing, and gossip.
9. Why did you choose to go it alone? Did you ever consider having a full band or was Shakey Graves always a solo project?
It’s always been a solo project, but again there’s a reason its named “Shakey Graves” and not Alejandro Rose-Garcia. I’ve always wanted the project to be as flexible as possible, and some of the main reasons I did it alone was that I hadn’t found the right people and I was very picky about the sound
I wanted to present to the world. All of my old recordings were me singing with me singing with me et cetera, and this new one I actually let go of all my anal retentive ways and started to explore what my vision of a band is.
10. “I can’t go a day without ______________.”
My busted up Canon FTB