Release Date: Jul 31, 2012
Record label: Dualtone Music
Genre(s): Folk, Alt-Country, Americana, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
This charming Charleston duo have been touring tirelessly since joining forces in 2010. Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent were solid singers and songwriters on their own, but the pairing is truly a thing of magic. Their new record O’ Be Joyful is a delightful combination of knee-slapping, bordering-on-gospel folk tracks and bluesy guitar-driven rock (with the exciting addition of horns this time around).
South Carolina-based married couple Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent specialise in a stripped-back and primal mix of country and bluegrass that has inevitably prompted comparisons to Johnny and June Cash and the White Stripes. Their debut album is a delight, from the uncomplicated bluesy strut of Tickin' Bomb to the brass inflections on the knowingly tongue-in-cheek Hail Hail. Best of all is the haunting closer This Means War, possibly the story of a man renouncing God following the death of his wife, where Hearst's quiet gospel touches act as a perfect foil to Trent's mournful emoting.
Asassy country woman and indie dude playing pop steeped in country and Americana, Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst are inevitably comparable to the Civil Wars, who clocked up the Grammy awards with a similar sound a year ago. However, you won't find Shovels and Rope covering Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. A married couple from South Carolina, their music is less postmodern and more traditional, that odd name coming from the way old guitars go together "like a shovel and a rope".
Charleston, South Carolina, husband and wife duo Shovels & Rope (Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst) perform with admirable self-sufficiency, conveying raw energy through guitars, harmonica, some old drums and singing. On their self-recorded debut album, other players add touches of banjo, horns, fiddle and synth. In a live song halfway through the disc, an emcee admonishes the crowd to stop talking and listen closely; it's hardly necessary.