With the heart of a songwriter and a sound that can range from traditional folk to a gritty modern honky tonk, Shakey Graves comes to Red Butte Garden on Tuesday, bringing the latest phase in the artist’s evolution.
Reinvention is nothing new for Alejandro Rose-Garcia, the man behind the Shakey Graves moniker. He used to work as a busker on the streets and tried his hand at acting, making the rounds at auditions in Los Angeles. He landed a small role on “Friday Night Lights,” before focusing more on music.
His busking roots were evident on his first album, 2011’s “Roll The Bones,” a straight-ahead folky collection of stripped-down shoe-gazers.
He kind of blew that up with “And The War Came,” moving toward more guitar-driven rockers with pulsing beats, all of which proved to be an excellent fit for the gravely, wailing tone of his voice. “And The War Came” brought us Shakey Graves’ biggest hit, “Dearly Departed,” featuring Esme Patterson’s elegant and under-appreciated backing vocals.
But, he wanted to keep developing his craft and last year released “Can’t Wake Up,” an album far more polished and produced than casual fans might be accustomed to. Graves has said he drew on “The Wizard of Oz” and early Disney movies for his inspiration, a fantastic and slightly unsettling theme.
It is layered and plays with genres, like the Dick Dale-style guitars on “Climb On The Cross,” or the airy “Back Seat Driver,” to the kind of odd horse-hoof clip-clop on “Tin Man.”
What that all means is that if you’ve seen Shakey Graves before — for example his show at The Depot a few years back when he was still wearing a cowboy hat and someone threw a bra on stage, which hung from his guitar neck for the next several songs — it’s probably best to expect the unexpected when he takes the stage.
Shakey Graves is joined Tuesday by Dr. Dog, with a jangly retro-psychadellic-country sound that at times resembles The Flying Burrito Brothers. Doors open at 6 p.m. with music starting at 7 p.m. The show is sold out, but as of Monday there were tickets available at the usual online resellers.