Shakey Graves talks suitcase drums and coffee-fueled songwriting

Bill DeVille and Shakey Graves at The Current
Bill DeVille and Shakey Graves in The Current's broadcast studio. (courtesy Bill DeVille)
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Interview: Shakey Graves
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It was bright and early to come in to see Bill DeVille in The Current's studio, but Shakey Graves was happy to do it. On only his second time in the Twin Cities, Graves had sold out the Cedar Cultural Center the night before. "I had so much fun," Graves says. "It was a really wonderful crowd."

Based in Austin, Texas, the visit to Minnesota's cold was not unwelcome for Graves. "Honestly, I love the cold," he says. "Austin is a horrible place to be during the summer, so it's a fair trade. I never see snow, I never get to bundle up."

In addition to a lively chat with DeVille, Graves performs an on-the-fly, in-the-broadcast-studio rendition of the track "Call It Heaven", off his album And the War Came.

The recording of that song, along with the track "Dearly Departed," which is featured during the segment, were collaborations with Esmé Patterson, formerly of Paper Bird. Graves says he and Patterson wrote "Dearly Departed" while he was staying in Denver during a couple of tour dates. "She and I wrote 'Dearly Departed' actually on Halloween on a whim, that was the first song we ever wrote together," Graves says. "We pumped it out in like an hour over coffee, and laughed about it a whole bunch, and played it that night and it went over famously. … We thought, 'Let's ust keep rolling with this.'"

Listen to the complete interview to hear about Graves's signature suitcase-drum kit, and about his early years growing up in a house where his dad loved R.E.M., Neil Young, Bob Dylan and the Talking Heads — all the while being surrounded by the ubiquitous Texas music scene.

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