You might have guessed that Alejandro Rose-Garcia wasn’t given the cool moniker Shakey Graves upon arrival into the world just over 30 years ago. The name happened during a hangout with friends and it stuck.
If you’re a heartbreaking, roots-rock singer dishing out twangy tunes that often fall on the sadder side of the spectrum, it’s certainly appropriate. The Austin, Texas, performer started out as a one-man-band, using some makeshift gear to have a kick drum and tambourine accompaniment to his vocals and guitar. He has dropped a handful of releases since 2011, but his most recent, Can’t Wake Up, finds him stretching his musical muscle.
No worries, there’s still plenty of gut-wrenching lyrics a la older tracks like “Donor Blues,” the title track from his 2012 offering. The arrangements and the diversity in musical styles are where you’ll truly see the singer-songwriter’s evolution. “Dining Alone” is punchy and full of swing. “Kids These Days” really veers off the country path, easily taking a spot next to tunes by psychedelic indie rockers like MGMT. Mix the stylistic makeover with the brightness in production, and Can’t Wake Up as a whole has a vibe that feels rejuvenated and hopeful.
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Shakey Graves performs Thursday, June 21, at The Van Buren. Tickets are $25 at ticketfly.com.