Shakey Graves on the Thrill of Writing a Great Song: "Holy Shit, I Made This?"
|Photo by Kirk Stewart|
Grease stains. The inescapable smell of motor oil on calloused hands. Engine grit collecting under already dirty fingernails. The cigarette breaks.
Similarly, there's something inherently blue collar about Alejandro Rose-Garcia, the 25-year-old actor/musician behind Shakey Graves and one of NPR's "Ten Artists You Should Have Known in 2012."
So, it seems only fitting that we here at Crossfade should catch up with the critically acclaimed musician while he was at a brake specialist in his hometown of Austin, Texas, ahead of a Miami appearance this Saturday, March 2, at The Vagabond with He's My Brother, She's My Sister and Paper Birds.
"My brakes are fine, but my father recommended this place 'cause they do a free 28-point inspection," he says. "Typically when my car is acting up, I'll take it there, they'll tell me what's wrong with it and then I'll go get it fixed somewhere else. I actually just need an oil change."
Blending elements of folk, blues, rock 'n' roll, and "(sur)real" life experiences, Shakey Graves' music is an aural example of quality American craftsmanship, the kind of timeless Americana you're unlikely to find on Top 40 radio. He's OK with that.
"The way that songwriting really resonates with me is when I've written a song that I can walk away from and be like, 'Holy shit, I made this?' and I can listen to it over and over again and not feel masturbatory," the songwriter says. "I probably have five or six songs sitting on the shelf that I'm in no rush to write, but I can't wait to hear them," he adds. "I know how they sound -- to a certain degree -- and I know what they're missing. It just hasn't come to me yet."