The day is finally here. The album of 2014 has arrived. Let me introduce, once again, to my friend Shakey. Let me rephrase that…
Shakey “HOLY MUSICAL GENIUS, BRILLIANT MOZART, ARTIST OF THE YEAR” Graves
Today, October 7th, 2014 should be the last time I’ll need to introduce you to this artist, as his new album “And the War Came” should explode onto the music scene like wildfire. I know I’ve posted a lot about him in the last few months, and that I could have easily tweeted about this release (which I did) but it’s not often when an album of this magnitude comes out.
True to everything I’ve ever known Mr. Graves to be about, “And the War Came” is an epic, mountainous, swirl of artistic ability melted into 11 tracks that refuse to leave your feet still. Let me walk you through my thoughts on my favorite tracks:
“Only Son” – The true first song from the album starts with intimacy, and picks up speed with silky flow (something Shakey does like no other). The foot drum awakens and so do the harmonies, creating a cave of thoughts echoed with the lines “And its evil ways, let me forget her”. With deliberate additions come the low snaps and clicks on the drum, amplifying knowledge that music produced by Shakey Graves must not just be audible, it must be transformative.
“Dearly Departed” featuring Esme Patterson – This song has been floating through cyberspace for quite some time, and has been an ultimate favorite of mine and anyone with an ear. The sweet combo of Shakey’s gravely voice with Esme’s delicate, cute, and huggable sound feels perfect. With buildups, a cappella choruses, and lyrics like “You and I both know that the house is haunted. You and I both know that the ghost is me” this song is so unique in its delivery and deep in contextual richness.
“The Perfect Parts” – I recently wrote about this song when it debuted a couple weeks ago on YouTube. Check out what I had to say here.
“Hard Wired” – Picture yourself in Texas. Walking around your neighborhood you see a man sitting on his porch, strumming along on his guitar, feet attached to the music notes invisibly flying through the air and lightly landing back on the wood – you’d probably be listening to Shakey Graves playing “Hard Wired”. You’d only be so lucky to let you hear his inner voice that tells you: “So go brace for good times, do what feels right, and send me the bill when you tire. Cause I am as I came. And I’ll still be the same. I got nothing to blame, I was hard wired.”
“Family and Genus” – There is something so unique about the sound in “Family and Genus” that I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the repetitive words and chords that start each sentence. Maybe it’s the distant ohs that sound far away, yet inside a part of you that’s impossible to find. Maybe its the strings that elevate the falling action of the song. Maybe it’s the ending conversation that ends with “Sometimes people call me things I’d rather not say”. I can’t put my finger on it, but its something special – I know that.
“Big Time Nashville Star” featuring Esme Patterson – I’m starting to think this isn’t just a coming out party for Shakey Graves, but also for Esme Patterson whose moments in this song foreshadow another musical genius rise in the making. Playful in its nature, “Big Time Nashville Star” transitions the beginning of “And the War Came” to its last four tracks.
“If Not for You” – An intro that parallels his previous song, “Late July”, “If Not for You” brings a whole lot to the table. It’s like Thanksgiving, where there’s always too much food, but you keep shoving yourself full until you physically can’t take it anymore. That’s this song by Shakey Graves. I’ve never listened to an artist so eloquently stop and start the rush of a song, but within each bar of the tenth track, the skill is under a microscope that only points out Mr. Graves’ best features.
I could keep writing, but this should be enough of a taste (actually by now, it’s a whole meal) of Shakey Graves. It may just be the best meal you’ve had in years.
Unfortunately I’ll be missing him due to being out of town when he swings through Phoenix – but I’m sure I’ll see him soon. There’s no way I’ll be able to avoid him after this album lifts him to the fame he truly deserves.