Shakey Graves: Americana meets Canadiana

Texas roots musician Shakey Graves is a Canadaphile. This was the first country Graves (born Alejandro Rose-Garcia) visited outside the U.S., and consequently “Canadian history, folklore and culture are fascinating to me,” said the 28-year-old Austin resident.

Texas roots musician Shakey Graves is a Canadaphile.

This was the first country Graves (born Alejandro Rose-Garcia) visited outside the U.S., and consequently “Canadian history, folklore and culture are fascinating to me,” said the 28-year-old Austin resident.

“It’s far more interesting than American history … All we have is Daniel Boone,” Graves added — whereas Canada has a wealth of frontier-men and women who had to learn to survive in the wilderness.

“You guys had the French-English wars, and all kinds of things …” said Graves, who opens for City and Colour on June 6, at the Centrium.

His own family “lived in Texas when it was still Mexico,” said the singer/songwriter.

Graves grew up in a musical home. “My parents had a band in the ’80s,” he recalled, and tunes by Neil Young, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Talking Heads and R.E.M. tunes were regularly played around the house.

His own tastes encompassed everything from Led Zeppelin and David Bowie to music from the Smithsonian Folkways Collection, which includes Delta Blues music, early Canadian log-driving songs, Appalachian bluegrass tunes and African spirituals.

“Like a lot of young people, I was drawn away from (commercial) music and back to the roots of where all music comes from,” said Graves.

Although described as a blues, folk and rock performer, he doesn’t see much distinction between the genres. For instance, he said “country (music) was a bad word when I was growing up” — a cheesy mix of Saccharine songs and half-gallon cowboy hats. “But it could be argued that punk is just sped-up country, or that country music is slowed down polka music.”

Graves said the root of all music springs from folkloric traditions, whether traditional Irish jigs, German oom-pah tunes, Spanish flamenco or Senegalese drum beats.

Since starting out in 2007, Graves has put out two full-length albums, as well as variety of limited-edition EPs, such as Nobody’s Fool and West of Calgary (a live recording of his concert at the Banff Centre). These can only be downloaded from his website on a pay-what-you-can basis for a 72-hour period each year, starting on Feb. 9 — which was declared Shakey Graves Day in his native Austin, Texas.

It’s the singer’s way of keeping things interesting and not flooding the Internet with his tunes. He explained, “If they’re harder to find, it makes people do more exploring …”

His latest release, And the War Came, includes the quirky, ear-wormish tune Dearly Departed, and was made in reaction to his first release. Roll the Bones, from 2011, was about the quest for love and adventure. And the War Came, from 2014, is about being careful what you wish for, said Graves, who ended up torn between the demands of romantic relationships and his professional need for touring.

“When everything hits at once, then what do you do?” said the now-married singer, who’s “sorted it all out — for now.”

Graves, who started out as a one-man band, was “flattered’ to win the 2015 Best Emerging Artist Award from the Americana Music Awards. “It’s like winning the label “Most Likely to Succeed” at prom … I hope I do emerge … I’ve certainly been putting in a lot of hard work,” he said, with a chuckle.

When he comes to Red Deer, he will be backed by a band. “I’m really excited,” said Graves, who feels Canadian audiences “are definitely more appreciative, maybe because I’m not up there all the time, so I don’t get taken for granted …”

Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. show are $20 to $60 from Ticketmaster.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

63 per cent said equality between men and women has not been achieved

FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters run as one of them discharges a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of tear gas fired by riot policemen in Yangon, Myanmar. The escalation of violence in Myanmar as authorities crack down on protests against the Feb. 1 coup is adding to pressure for more sanctions against the junta, as countries struggle over how to best confront military leaders inured to global condemnation. (AP Photo/File)
Escalating violence raises pressure for Myanmar sanctions

More shootings were reported over the weekend

A moth-killing drone hovers over crops in a green house in Monster, Netherlands, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. A Dutch startup is using drones to kill moths in midair as a way of protecting valuable crops in greenhouses that are damaged by caterpillars. PATS Indoor Drone Solutions emerged from the work of a group of students looking for ways to kill mosquitos in their dorm rooms. The drones themselves are very basic, but they are steered by smart technology and special cameras that scan the airspace in greenhouses. When the cameras detect a moth, a drone is set on a collision course with the bug, destroying the bug with its rotors. (AP Photo/Mike Corder)
Drones vs hungry moths: Dutch use hi-tech to protect crops

Drones instantly kill the moths by flying into them

Health-care worker Jenne Saunders prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Palais de Congress site as Quebec begins mass vaccinations based on age across the province on March 1, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada set to receive more than 910,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week

Federal government looks for vaccine-makers to finalize delivery of eight million doses by March 31

Statistics Canada’s offices at Tunny’s Pasture in Ottawa are shown on Friday, March 8, 2019. Newly released documents show Statistics Canada considered delaying this year’s census until 2022 over pandemic-related concerns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Statistics Canada considered delaying this year’s census to 2022 due to pandemic

A census takes seven years between the start of planning to the release of data

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

Hamilton Forge FC’s Giuliano Frano (8) heads the ball against CD Olimpia’s Jorge Benguche (9) during Scotiabank CONCACAF League 2019 second half soccer action in Hamilton, Ont., Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. Forge FC owner Bob Young says the Canadian Premier League champions will be playing the Canadian Championship final against Toronto FC at a disadvantage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Forge FC owner upset at Canada Soccer’s timing of Canadian Championship final

Winner of Canadian Championship final earns a berth in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League

Team Wild Card Two skip Kevin Koe reacts to his shot as he plays Team Newfoundland and Labrador at the Brier in Calgary, Alta., on March 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Wild Card Two’s Koe beats Gushue 9-7 to hand defending champs first loss at the Brier

Gushue was a tad heavy with his final draw and Koe picked it out for the victory

No regrets: Grammy-nominated DJ Jayda G on choosing beats over sciences career

TORONTO — House music producer Jayda G knows a thing or two… Continue reading

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Prince Harry, left, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, speaking about expecting their second child during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. “Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” airs March 7 as a two-hour exclusive primetime special on the CBS Television Network. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
UK royals absorb shock of revealing Harry, Meghan interview

Anti-monarchy group Republic said the interview gave a clearer picture of what the royal family is like

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan takes part in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa on December 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives to call top Sajjan, Trudeau aides to testify on Vance allegations

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives plan to summon two senior Liberal aides… Continue reading

Elvira D'Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada’s… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Most Read