With the release of his single “Dearly Departed,” Shakey Graves set up his audiences for a more country-esque new album, but instead produced a refined follow up to his debut, Roll The Bones. The new record, And The War Came, was released on Oct. 7.
Alejandro Rose-Garcia, who has also acted in several films and on Friday Night Lights, performs solo under the name Shakey Graves and has revived the idea of the one-man band, playing a guitar and a kick drum made out of an old suitcase. An Austin native, Rose-Garcia began making music in New York. However, since returning to his hometown, “Shakey Graves Day” is celebrated by mayoral declaration. His music has been described as an unrivaled and very original mix of “hobo folk” and blues.
And The War Came represents an evolution in Rose-Garcia’s music. Where he describes Roll the Bones as “wanting to burn down [his] life,” he contrasts his latest album as “the trials and tribulations of becoming domesticated, letting people into your world and letting go of selfishness.”
A seven-second dialogue introduces the album, leading into “Only Son,” a softer piece with rhythmic folk melodies. Three tracks on the album feature Denver’s own Esme Patterson, the most notable being “Dearly Departed,” a charming duet ruled by catchy percussion beats and Halloween-inspired lyrics. Songs like “The Perfect Parts” and “Hard Wired” maintain Shakey Graves’ well-loved, characteristic gritty folk sound with a more refined filter.
Later tracks, specifically “Family and Genus” and “House of Winston” sustain building bass lines with understated lyrics, lending themselves to the artistic development that makes the record, in Rose-Garcia’s words, “a doorframe album, as we’re going into a new building.” He also described the album as a transition from his personal, eerie, homemade music to a higher quality of sound with bigger concepts, specifically the theme of “being that second, other person.” His lyrics remain subtly profound, my personal favourite being the chorus to “House of Winston.”
Overall, And The War Came represents a new step in the future of Shakey Graves. Rose-Garcia has managed to uphold the unique characteristics of his earlier music, while developing a more mature, selfless sound, a feat that many artists are unable to do without compromising elements of their personal style.
Shakey Graves will be playing a sold-out show at Colorado Springs’ local Ivywild School on Dec. 14, accompanied by Sean Rowe and Esme Patterson, at which audiences can look forward to a captivating and intimate performance.