In-between albums, Shakey Graves was fully receptive to an invitation from fellow singer-songwriter Bruce Robison to record something for Robison’s Austin, Texas-based The Next Waltz initiative. The result is a version of Roger Miller’s “A World So Full of Love,” premiering exclusively here.
”(Robinson) was just, like, ‘Do whatever you want,’” Graves (real name Alejandro Rose-Garcia) tells Billboard. “Roger Miller is one of maybe five writers that have always appealed to me as a singer and songwriter. His catalog is deeper than even I give it credit for. I had started playing that song on my last tour, just to have in case I wanted to throw in a cover here or there.” Graves isn’t entirely sure how he first came upon “A World So Full of Love,” but the song, which Miller recorded in a couple of different versions—most notably on 1970’s A Trip in the Country, has always appealed to him.
“For awhile I thought maybe (Miller) hadn’t written that song, ’cause it’s kind of a very un-Roger Millery tune in the first place,” Graves notes. “It’s a little depressing and bleak, which he’s not particularly known for. I think it’s in his delivery — it sounds melancholy, and the lyrics are extremely melodramatic, but he still sings it with a little bit of lightness in his voice. The version we did is different than any of his, but I think that’s the idea.”
Robison says Graves was at the top of his list of artists he wanted for The Next Waltz, which, in addition to being a label, has a web portal featuring unique content from a variety of artists, including Rodney Crowell and Carrie Rodriguez, as well as a studio in Austin where exclusive content is recorded. “When (Graves) suggested a Roger Miller song I was not really surprised. All the artists that I have in have influences that make perfect sense in hindsight. He owned the song and jumped right into our crazy clubhouse and made it his own. I am a huge fan, And (Graves) is one of the few brilliant and unclassifiable artists that really make Austin what it is and why we love it here. ‘A World So Full of Love’ is one of the best songs we have done yet, I think Roger Miller would love it.”
Graves, meanwhile is working on his fifth full-length album, the follow-up to 2018’s Can’t Wake Up. “I ideally would love to have it tracked by the end of the year, but that’s not in the books yet,” he says. “I wanted to have a lot more time to write, then I kept saying ‘yes’ to one-offs and then they started to fuse into another year of traveling and playing, which is great but takes away from that writing time. Recently I’ve been on a roll and just dove into whatever this next batch of songs is. I can kind of see the outline of it, so I guess I’m on my way.”