Austin360 On The Record: Shakey Graves, Zach Person, Dylan Blackthorn, Brian Donohoe, more
Austin360 On The Record is a weekly roundup of new, recent and upcoming releases by local and Austin-associated recording artists.
Shakey Graves, “Roll the Bones X” 10th-anniversary reissue edition (Dualtone). The shooting-star career of Austin native Alejandro Rose-Garcia, aka Shakey Graves, began 10 years ago when he released his debut album "Roll the Bones" as a pay-what-you-can download on Bandcamp. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, he's assembled this expanded version, available both digitally and on vinyl with an "Odds & Ends" set featuring previously unreleased material.
The physical release includes a booklet that draws upon old photographs, journals and lyric sheets Graves unearthed for the occasion. Release shows at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, April 2, at Nutty Brown Amphitheatre (sold out). Here’s the opening track, “Unlucky Skin”:
Zach Person, self-titled (BlackDenim). A 24-year-old guitarist and singer-songwriter who moved to Austin from Houston in 2017, Person released five of these tracks on a 2020 debut EP. Now comes the full 12-song album, an impressive and ambitious record that blends rock, blues, funk, soul and more with energy to burn.
Person, who appeared on “American Idol” in 2016, worked with producer Will Loconto at BlackDenim studios, home base for a new label co-owned by Loconto and music photographer Christopher Durst. Joined by drummer Jake Wyble, a key accompanist both live and in the studio, Person serves up tunes that range from the gospel-tinged, acoustic-centered “Wanna Fly” to the slow blues-funk groove of “Back to Me” to the soulful pop groove of “Radio Man” to the thumping intensity of “Long Enough.” One could be forgiven for not recognizing “All Shook Up” as the Elvis Presley classic; Person completely reframes its melody and tempo, giving it a fuzz-guitar 21st-century makeover. The closing tune, “R.D.M.S.,” is identified in the track list as a demo, but it offers an intriguing insight into Person’s recording process; stripped back to just his voice and electric guitar, it’s brimming with raw emotion. Release show Friday, April 2, at Empire Garage. Here’s the video for the opening track, “Can’t Stop Running”:
Dylan Blackthorn, “Small Flames.” In press materials accompanying the album, Blackthorn boasts that his music is “truly keeping Austin weird,” and it’s hard to argue after listening to his 13-song solo debut. For starters, there’s the instrumentation: Blackthorn writes primarily on accordion, and his accompanists join in on instruments ranging from tin whistle to ukulele to xylophone to musical saw to tuba to cimbalom. The result is a style that seems like the lost folk music of a nonexistent eastern European country. Guest vocalist Nyra Song adds an ethereal touch to the ballad “Candlelight.” With a cast that includes Samantha Blackthorn, Dr. $ick, Tom Crail, Eldridge Goins, Michael Rubin and David Ansel, “Small Flames” was recorded with engineer Matt Smith at Austin studio 6 String Ranch. Here’s the video for the track “Stoked”:
Brian Donohoe, “Soundtracks for Trying Times.” A producer and session musician who’s worked with Progger and Snarky Puppy as well as composing scores for film and TV, Donohoe wrote and recorded these 11 exploratory jazz instrumentals over the past year largely as a means of coping with isolation during the pandemic. Donohoe’s primary instruments are keyboard and saxophone, but he added guitars, woodwinds, percussion and more to create richly textured soundscapes. A few friends transmitted parts from faraway locales, including bassist Nick Clark, trombonist Darius Christian, and guitarists Chris McQueen, Akira Ishiguro, Carter Arrington, Brandon Scott Coleman and Matt Muehling. Here’s the track “Ninety-Nine”:
Joe Barksdale, “Omari.” The former pro football player follows his 2020 EP “Sincerely” with an album compiled from his recent “Moonbeam Mondays” weekly series of singles. This one’s a very different record, consisting largely of spoken-word recitations floating atop soul-funk-jazz-styled sound beds. Here’s the track “Animosity”:
APRIL 9: Balmorhea, “The Wind” (Deutsche Grammophon)
APRIL 16: Amigo the Devil, “Born Against”
APRIL 16: Sasha & the Valentines, “So You Think You Found Love?” (Ooof)
APRIL 20: Croy & the Boys, “Of Course They Do” EP (Spaceflight)
APRIL 23: Lady Dan, “I Am the Prophet” (Earth Libraries)
APRIL 23: Calliope Musicals, “Between Us” EP (Spaceflight)
APRIL 23: Danny Golden, “Changes” EP
MAY 7: Grace Pettis, “Working Woman” (Mpress)
MAY 22: Ray Prim, “When It’s All Said and Done”
JULY 30: Nobody’s Girl, self-titled (Lucky Hound)