Shakey Graves—the nom de plume of Los Angeles via Texas songwriter Alejandro Rose-Garcia—wields a one of a kind voice that stings with a dark whispery howl and crackle of seduction. The fingerpicked guitar work—soulful and bluesy—and production—loosely layered, and colored with the sparse and shadowy intimacy of an empty motel hallway—prove equally well matched here.
Roll The Bones is Rose-Garcia's debut collection of songs, and while the standout tracks are all originals like the displaced and apathetic "Built To Roam" ("here I come, bored and lazy") and the old timey feverishly hand-clapped "Proper Fence," it's his cover of the Boss's "I'm On Fire" that merits discussion. What's so impressive about the oft-covered song is its simple but atypical recording. Rather than strumming his way through the track, a pronounced acoustic bass riff takes the forefront appropriately creeping its way through the song, accentuating the dark and seedier elements of the narration. Discounting Springsteen's original, it's the most memorable take on the classic cut I've heard (sorry AA Bondy). Considering the album is often comprised of nothing more than a banjo or guitar and Rose-Garcia's vocals, it's richness is truly astounding.
Do yourself a favor and grab Roll The Bones at Shakey Graves' Bandcamp. And head over to the excellent Folk Hive (she posts nothing but gold) to thank her for this introduction.
Shakey Graves - "Proper Fence" (from Roll The Bones)
Shakey Graves - "I'm On Fire" (from Roll The Bones)
Shakey Graves - "Bully's Lament" (from Roll The Bones Bonus Track)