Austen Grafa Goes Long On Debut Solo Effort (Westword 5/1/2019)

Denver singer-songwriter Austen Grafa.
Austen Grafa photo by Luke Gottlieb

Austen Grafa Goes Long On Debut Solo Effort
by Adam Perry for Westword, 5/1/2019

Austen Grafa plays bass in the Denver pop-punk band Bud Bronson & the Good Timers and has performed with Porlolo. He has also been making a name for himself in the Colorado alt-country realm the last few years as the frontman and singer-songwriter for Grayson County Burn Ban, which has built local love for its self-proclaimed “campfire country” sound. Now, the Texas-bred, Denver-based singer-songwriter is playing under his own name, too.

This Friday, Grafa will celebrate the release of his first solo record, do it while you can, which continues the simultaneously funny and thought-provoking Grayson County vibe in a more stripped-down fashion. Acoustic guitar and the supportive twang of electric lend flavor to do it while you can tracks like “Guilt Trip Blues,” which makes light of a notoriously touchy subject in a music scene: balancing the promotion of one’s own shows with making sure to support your friends.

“In these times, everyone is so sensitive. It’s so hard to call people out on things,” Grafa says. “No one wants to be criticized. Specifically, straight white men don’t want to be criticized. I see it as my responsibility to call attention to some of these things, and I think the best way to go about that is with a little bit of humor. If I just wrote a song that was like, ‘Hey, I’m sick and tired of people asking me to come to their shows, because I need people to come to my shows,’ no one wants to hear that. But if you say, ‘Hey, isn’t this kinda funny? We’re all sort of cogs in this bigger machine helping each other out,’ that message is a little more digestible and allows people to reflect on it.”


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