What do you get when you toss two Southern-bred lovebirds together and give them a couple guitars, a harmonica, and half of a drum kit? You get the magic that is Shovels & Rope, of course.
Charleston couple Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst have the purest honky-tonk sound I’ve heard in such a long time. Pulling influence from Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and Elvis Costello, their powerful lilting vocals top a set of instruments literally pulled from a junkyard. Shovels & Rope keep their music simple — no overproduced studio sound found here. They recorded their album O’ Be Joyful in their home, their van, and various motel rooms across the country.
Hearst is a June Carter reincarnate, with a voice so sensually raspy you nearly bite your nails expecting it to crack. It never does. Trent’s drawl is ideal for harmonizing with his lady counterpart and he plays his instruments as though he’s been doing it forever… He never learned how to play drums and just stumbled upon the kick and snare to add a little density to their music. No matter what they may or may not be trained in, talent is certainly not lacking for the duo.
Shovels & Rope are chill-inducing musicians, with an authentic sound and an even truer passion.
[Shovels & Rope perform from 7:40 to 8:40 pm on Sunday, May 26 at the Yeti stage.]