It all started back in 2012. Alejandro Rose-Garcia, better known by the moniker Shakey Graves, announced via blog post that the Mayor of Austin, TX would proclaim February 9th as “Shakey Graves Day” at a performance by Shakey in the Austin City Hall. Since then, Rose-Garcia has transformed Shakey Graves Day into the coolest tradition in music today.
For those of you who do not know, Shakey Graves is a phenomenally talented 29 year-old Indie-Americana/Folk musician and songwriter. He came onto the scene as a one-man band, simultaneously playing guitar, harmonica, and a suitcase drum and making it look effortless. Subsequently, he has expanded his live performance to include a full band but his trusty suitcase is never too far away.
In honor of the first Shakey Graves Day back in 2012, Rose-Garcia decided he had to do something to celebrate. There was the aforementioned blog post and the release of a limited time only EP The People of Texas Vs. Alejandro Rose-Garcia, a collection of a few live recordings and older songs he had written. Thus, the tradition was born and each subsequent year, more rare deep tracks and live recordings have been released on February 9th. On Shakey Graves Day II, he released an EP – Story of My Life – comprised of unreleased live recordings. As a kicker, he allowed his entire discography to be downloaded for free for a 72 hour period.
The third installment of Shakey Graves Day brought a new piece to the tradition: a party/concert in Austin at the Empire Control Room and, instead of free, all of his previously released music was available for “pay what you want.” Shakey Graves Day III also came with the release of the live album As Per Request and a recorded live performance from August 11th, 2013 in Banf, Alberta entitled West of Calgary. Shakey Graves Day 2k15 delivered my personal favorite of the limited-time releases, the EP Nobody’s Fool, which plays very similarly to Rose-Garcia’s latest album And Then the War Came both musically and stylistically. Then 2016’s celebration brought the world a live recording straight from the late-great Levon Helm’s barn, which was aptly called Live from Levon. The live album is a combination of new demos being tested live and older songs being played in new variations. As expected, Shakey Graves delivers in a big way. As good as his recorded music is, his live performances go above and beyond. I was fortunate enough to see him live in 2015 and I strongly recommend you do the same when he stops in your city.
Now, in all the turmoil and horror that 2017 has brought, Shakey decided to make his annual celebration have some added significance. Yes, Shakey Graves Day VI does have some new music, as Rose-Garcia has released The Man From the Taured, a collection of b-sides and rarities from 2007-2017. But in addition, to cope with a new administration whose actions are in direct conflict with human equality, half of all the proceeds from Shakey Graves Day will now go to charities.
What charities, you ask? Well Shakey is taking suggestions on that front too. If you run over to Shakey’s Facebook post announcing Shakey Graves Day VI you can leave a comment with a suggestion for a charity you believe is a worthy cause. When all is said and done, after the 72 hours of SGDVI have passed, Shakey will announce where the proceeds are going based on the suggestions he receives.
So, do yourself a favor and run to his bandcamp right now and name your price for this man’s wonderfully deep and beautiful discography and in doing so, give back to a good cause of your choosing.
By Matt Atwell