It may sound like the name of a murder mystery novel, but Shovels & Rope is nothing of the sort. One thing’s for sure: they do write about murder. But fear not; this tale doesn’t always end bloody.
Charleston, South Carolina-based Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent started their musical journey as solo artists, with Trent working on his solo album ‘The Winner’ and Hearst entering the folk singer/songwriter scene somewhat quietly. However, Hearst quickly gained some recognition when HBO’s famous vampire series, True Blood, chose her song “Hell’s Bell’s” for it’s soundtrack. Now married, Hearst and Trent tour under the name Shovels & Rope, though they’re a lot less sinister than the name suggests.
During the early stages of their career the duo played folk music with mostly acoustic instruments. However, their deep seated punk influences resulted in the addition of some amplified and electronic instruments. Regardless, they continue to apply their ‘less-is-more’ approach to creating music. “I’m inspired by being limited to just a few things,” Trent told the Boston Globe, but even with limited instrumentation, Shovels & Rope can put on quite a show. During a live-setting Hearst and Trent switch between guitars and drums, and if you closed your eyes it would be hard to distinguish who was playing what. Their dynamic harmonies are influenced as much by Exene Cervenka and John Doe of the legendary punk band X as by Johnny and June Cash–punk raucousness but with a country soul.
You can stream Shovels & Rope right here through KUTX!