It’s been a freaking busy day starting with a wake-up (before the alarm no less) at 5:10am to make a 6:15am spin class, then off to work to deal with endless coaching audits and more work on the current modules I am behind on, then some errands right after that before trying to slip in this easy 5k continuous run from the gym – hopefully grab some dinner and gas – and it’s off to see a special private screening of the new movie ‘Transcend‘ at the new theater at One St. Paul Street in St. Catharines. Tired yet? Yeah, well, the run was actually the easiest part of my day. I guess the good news is that by the sounds of it, both girls are at home with upset stomachs and up to their eyeballs in vomit so, hey, maybe this hectic day ain’t so bad. Another positive is the ‘And the War Came‘ album I got to listen to by the Shaky Graves.
I randomly came across this band only the other day through a casual reference on a friend’s Facebook page. I thought to myself: “Huh. I’ve ever heard of the Shaky Graves before. Maybe I should check them out.” So I did. Thanks Michelle!
Well, as it turns out ‘they’ are in fact a ‘he’. Alejandro Rose-Garcia (aka Shakey Graves) didn’t take the straight path to the country world. He went from playing late-night open mics in New York to joining the underground LA freak folk scene while looking for acting gigs before finally settling in Austin — the perfect setting for his lo-fi Americana. This new album, released this past October, slides in and out of clean, foot-stomping folk, lo-fi, freak folk, bluesy rock, and quiet, personal bedroom pop. Perfect for a quiet, easy-going 5k romp around my old stomping grounds in downtown St. Catharines…short as it may be.
The track ‘Only Son‘ sees Rose-Garcia in his one-man band setup, with just guitar and suitcase bass drum. He sounds best when he’s playing solo: you can finally hear how immensely talented a picker he is. His fingers slide and hammer all over the fretboard while simultaneously pounding out a quick, sporadic bass beat underneath. Rose-Garcia’s voice stays in a strained whisper throughout the track, but he backs himself up with a more angelic drawl, like he’s singing from the back of a church. He changes up his picking for ‘Hard Wired‘, where he takes on a more Kaki King or Jose Gonzalez style of plucks and string slaps, creating a wonderfully percussive backing to his southern yelp. And then there’s the rollicking country jam ‘Big Time Nashville Star‘ to help me up and over the only hill I’ve seen all month, or what the locals call the “QEW Lake Street Overpass”. I call it a real bitch. The track ‘House of Winston‘ brought it all home again in just under 30 minutes (not great, but it’s a start) and the last track ‘Call It Heaven‘ was enough for a nice little mat stretch before hitting the showers and heading out in search of f-o-o-d (pulled pork sandwich and pint of Pumpkin Ale at the Merchant Ale House.
Okay, time to play the part, look like a runner and go see a documentary on running. Hopefully, this will serve as some added motivation to get out the door in the coming weeks and just “be done and run”. Words to live by.