Music Reviews

Review: Shakey Graves – Roll The Bones


At a time when ‘Folk’ is perceived as clean-cut boys with guitars and fedoras, Shakey Graves is refreshing reminder. He returns us to the rustic, haunting grit that traditional folk is based on. Above all, he reminds us that this genre is a mindset- it’s relaxing and laid back. He can charm even the most materialistic city boys drop everything and move to rural Texas. Shakey Graves takes us on a rural experience into traditional folk. For those unfamiliar with this genre, don’t worry- his sincere, intimate, and smokey tone helps the listener ease in effortlessly.

Low-fi finger picking and haunting harmonica riffs compliment his soft, gritty voice, resulting in an album that is soothing and unsettling. It’s hauntingly beautiful- I get chills down my spine when I listen to this album.

Opening track ‘Unlucky Sin’ introduces the listener to an isolated country feeling with banjo and harmonica laid in odd time signatures. Following this is ‘Built to Roam’, another track introducing us to that country isolation through the simplicity of guitar and bass. What’s intriguing in the production of both songs is the sound of some inconsistency- not a fatal, juvenile inconsistency, but a purposeful one. It’s a smart move on his part- he provides very refreshing versatile approach to the same subject.

While Shakey Graves’ style is that of the hauntingly depressing, his music is not trapped in an “every-song-sounds-the-same” sort of repetition.  He maintains integrity in his sound while maneuvering variation in pace and instrumentation. His live track ‘City in a Bottle’ is exemplary in this regard with his use of horns and energy. This song displays an amount of energy that isn’t found on any of the studio tracks. Not only is it refreshing for the album, but it also proves that he can make lo-fi pack a serious punch in live performances.

‘Business Lunch’, however, is one of his most stand-out tracks on this album. It takes you on a surreal ride with smokey tonality, catchy guitar riff, and a playful ‘drop your work and get drunk’ attitude without sounding like a rebellious teen from white suburbia. It’s a rustic style of play that he’s pressuring you to do, and you can’t help but play along.

This album is perfect for road trips, wandering thinkers, stray cowboys, or anything that breathes.Roll the Bones presents honest, heartfelt, raw songs that can carry your soul down any open road. It’s an album you can-and want- to get lost in. You’d be a fool to not include Shakey Graves in your music library. (Katt Hass)


For fans of: Middle Brother, The Devil Makes Three, Alabama Shakes, Kingsley Flood

His new album, And the War Came, is set to release this October.Pick up Roll the Bones for free at his Bandcamp page. And while you’re at it, pre-order his new album. You don’t want to be caught dead without it.


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