folk hive backyard sessions (with show me shows) :: shakey graves

Jessica said that sometimes foxes romp through her yard down at the end of the street. She said that one time a lady came down there and sat agape because there were 17 or something deer, eating in the snow on her front lawn. She said we could have a show down the street, just two houses down on either side, not far from where we usually do anyhow. We did that instead. Some of us were just built to roam, you know?

{Photograph courtesy of Jarred Gastreich @ Show Me Shows}

In attendance, the normal crowd. Immediate and extended family. Someone brought a little baby that danced but only when Shakey sang. Many friends from town and a few from out-of-town that have proven to be counted upon attendees, despite their long hauls. My postman. Legions of (uninvited) chiggers. The dudes from Show Me Shows. A dog named Honcho. Carpenters, Harley enthusiasts, farmers, truck drivers, Mainers, and social workers. And the definition of a Texas Gentleman, Shakey Graves, with his old Gibson that suffered so much falling sweat it could have used a hanky.

{Photo courtesy of Jarred Gastreich @ Show Me Shows}

First, there were songs sang out at an old cemetery near here, where we buried my uncle in Hippie Corner. There is a chapel, or what used to be one. Gravestones and Shakey Graves. Then there were my couches were we all sat and waxed philosophical about the distinct differences between Natural Light and Busch heavy. There was a minute in the backyard and then the walk down to the dead ends of Locust.

{Photos courtesy of Jarred Gastreich @ Show Me Shows}

And then. Then we all saw a show and what a fucking show it was.

I’m still sort of in awe. There was dancing and there was a crowd of faces that immediately understood what I’ve been going on and on about for years. In the presence of nearly enough Strongbow to kill a horse, Shakey Graves balanced his beer on his mic stand and his cigarette in his guitar, all while putting on one of my favorite shows I’ve ever been lucky enough to see just because of the immense intimacy of it. The sun fell; we turned on the porch lights and toes tapped in unison. Shakey moved through the songs I’ve listened to for years now, one by one, playing a lengthy set that resulted in a yard full of new fans, now loyal to the man who was kind enough to drive all those miles to stand on a porch in Pulaski county for us.


Different this time was that I was able to hound the dudes from Show Me Shows, Ryan and Jarred, into bringing their asses down the highway and into town. They’re responsible for the glorious takes you’ll see soon out at that old chapel. They are responsible for the video above and the photographic evidence of a wonderful night. Because they are stellar dudes, because they are consummate professionals, because they are fucking good, I am now a follower that will fucking fist fight on their behalf. A huge, utterly massive thank you goes to them. You helped make it what it was, dudes. I love this fucking state — it’s music, which is sorely underrated, and most of all, it’s people.

Thanks, of course, to Ale. Reader, you must see his show. Find one in your state, travel to Austin if you must. Just see it. As you’ll understand then, as some of you most likely already know, the music is weighty. But aside from that, Ale is a dude that deserves any accolades afforded him simply because he is righteous human. He will eat your barbecue, he will drink that beer (and you don’t even have to tell him to), he will hang out in your backyard making friends with your lifelong friends, and he will sit at your kitchen table long after the sun has descended, rambling right along beside you. I am more devoted to the music of Shakey Graves than I was before, as if that were even possible.


Folk Hive, all the music and words and time that it requires of me, is sometimes a mighty endeavor. My alarm is set 2 hours before it need be every morning to accommodate it. Dinner is made late every night to oblige it. Money is budgeted for albums and trips when it could certainly be spent on vacations and new tires instead. It can be tiring and is usually done with an attitude that says there will be no thanks but that is fine for miles. There is a reason for that: Once in a while, things like a house show with Shakey Graves happen. It is a transformative experience, one that renews beyond belief. Hearing a song that I’ve played thousands of times, when things were both easy and stunningly hard, on a porch that I’ve stood on since I was a child will mend a heart. Watching my friends and family look on and begin to understand what it all means will cover a soul and sustain for a good long while. It validates everything I’ve ever written, every hour I’ve ever spent with headphones in.

{Photo courtesy of Jarred Gastreich @ Show Me Shows}

Without Jessica and Bill, all the friends and family that came, the Show Me dudes, and Shakey it never would have happened. I’m so glad it did. My most heartfelt of thanks to everyone involved.

Shakey Graves :: Built To Roam (live) [mp3]

BUY Roll The Bones :: SITE

All photos and that lovely video are courtesy of the guys at Show Me Shows, who we now worship. Based in St Louis, they produce some real fine videos. Check out Jarred’s photography here. Check out Ryan’s studio, R&R Music Labs, here.

  1. MT C said:

    What a treat this must have been, to have Shakey on your very own turf! I cannot fathom how cool that must have been.

    I’ve been getting your work for the past few months now (more than a few actually) and must say once again that I thoroughly enjoy the connection. I look forward to its arrival everyday. Just seems as if we are one mind, yours is younger and much better of course. And that is only as far as music goes.

    There is one thing lacking here. And that would be a place (like PayPal) where an appreciator could make a small donation to make your life a buck or two easier. Won’t be much as I really don’t want you getting fat and lazy with this. That and I’m retired. LOL But would be something to back up the thoughts.


  2. This, my new friend, is as beautiful and heartfelt a piece of music writing as I ever need to read. It happens, you have memories, you keep them and tell the stories again and again. The time, the effort – sometimes it raises it’s bright head and looks you right in the eye and you know it can be worth it.

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