Shakey Graves has worked hard in the last few years. The Austin musician known as Alejandro Rose-Garcia to his parents has been a road dog of the first degree, taking first his one-man-band act then his band on the road to any club, festival and living room that would have him. The work has paid off with a pair of highly acclaimed albums and a growing national fanbase. For last night’s livestreamed taping, the young singer/songwriter was welcomed by a loving hometown crowd.
“I’m just gonna take a minute and soak all this in,” Graves said before launching into “Roll the Bones,” the title track of his debut album. Thumping a suitcase bass drum and tambourine combo and fingerpicking a noisy hollowbody guitar, the raspy-voiced Austin native made his case immediately: passionate, funny, mindful of folk and blues tradition without being dragged down by it. Graves was joined by his stalwart drummer Boo for the cowpunkabilly “If Not For You” and then by guitarist Patrick O’Connor for the more folky “Family and Genus,” with the trio then taking “The Perfect Parts” to the swamp. Boo and O’Connor took a break to let Graves go back to singing solo, digging into his folk bag for “Tomorrow,” the vaudeville-tinged “Chinatown” (a request from his mom, who was present) and “ Proper Fence,” which ended with playful call and response with the crowd. Following the fingerpicked electric blues of “Buil to Roam,” Graves’ band then retook the stage, swaying into the grungy “Pansy Waltz” and blazing into the surfing cowpunk of “Where a Boy Once Stood.” Inviting his friend Carson McHone to duet, Graves and co. ended the main set with his triple-A radio hit “Dearly Departed,” which brought the audience to its feet.
Graves came back alone for the encore, showing off both sides of his personality: the sensitive troubadour of “Hard Wired” and the sardonic storyteller behind the crime story “Late July.” With that one-two punch, the show concluded to rapturous applause, as the hometown hero left the stage. It was an excellent show, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs during Season 41 on PBS.