Artists like Shakey Graves are the perfect example of where hard work can lead you. From the days that Alejandro Rose-Garcia started off with the idea of being a one-man show to tacking on a band, touring all over and making appearances on noteworthy shows like The Late Show with David Letterman. Shakey Graves honored his roots and made his first appearance on the Austin City Limits stage this past week. His hometown audience welcomed him with love.
As he stepped out on the stage, it was hard to miss his trademark homemade suitcase kick-drum. Little bits of him show the authentic Austin spirit that he’s had throughout his whole career. Like a true Texan, Rose-Garcia donned a cowboy hat with his fitted suit and boots. He was all smiles as he played the title track of his debut album “Roll the Bones.” He tipped his hat towards the crowd as he finished his first song and almost immediately was joined by drummer “Boo.” The pair broke out into “If Not For You,” a cowpunk song that had the crowd all riled up. For their third song, guitarist Patrick O’Connor joined them to finalize the trio that is Shakey Graves. As they delved into their setlist, Rose-Garcia handled a few of his more folky tracks sans band. When his drummer and guitarist exited for those songs, Rose-Garcia said, “oh we’re alone now. Confession time: I’m really happy.” His words were nothing but genuine throughout the entire set.
He played “Chinatown” as a request by his mom who was in the audience and as the bluesy “Built to Roam” came to an end, his band rejoined. Rose-Garcia brought out fellow Texan Carson McHone for a duet to close the show. Everyone was on their feet as Shakey Graves walked off and only minutes later, Rose-Garcia took the stage solo to bring the night to its end. As he finished his storytelling hit “Late July,” the crowd’s applause was booming through Moody Theater and he took his hat off as a sign of gratitude to his fellow Austinites.
Something he said in a 2013 AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit came to mind during this taping. Rose-Garcia said, “Austin is my home and its the sheer adversity that has made me long to leave my name scarred on it. I have always dreamed and planned for this city to be beach that my army lands on.” Shakey Graves’ army truly descended that night.
* Live photos courtesy of KLRU. All photos below by Scott Newton.