Country duo Shovels & Rope celebrates new album with free concertWritten by Brian Bohnert | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Shakers, a harmonica, a couple of keyboards and the occasional guitar make up the musical sounds of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent. But don’t forget the Shovels & Rope.
To celebrate the upcoming release of its album “O’ Be Joyful,” Charleston, S.C., duo Shovels & Rope will perform a free concert in Toledo on May 31. The show will take place at Ottawa Tavern on 1817 Adams St. at 10 p.m.
While “O’ Be Joyful” is the first official release for the two under the name Shovels & Rope, Hearst and Trent released an album together in 2008, “Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent: Shovels & Rope,” the record responsible for the birth of the name.
“When we decided to become a band and market ourselves with a specific brand, it was convenient and it just seemed like perfect sense to use ‘Shovels & Rope.’ So we just swiped the name from the album,” Hearst said. “We kind of made [the album] for fun as a side-project from the other bands we were in.”
For the release of “O’ Be Joyful,” Nashville, Tenn.,-based Dualtone Music Group partnered with Trent and Hearst’s Charleston-based label, Shrimp Records, Trent said.
The duo met in 2004 when their bands were on tour in Athens, Ga. Trent said his band, based out of Denver, had made the decision to move to Charleston before he met Hearst.
“I was living in Denver playing in a rock band with guys I went to high school with, and we were on tour opening for the band Jump, Little Children in Athens, Ga.,” Trent said. “Cary’s band was also there opening for Jump, Little Children too.”
Prior to recording with Trent, Hearst had been a successful singer and songwriter in her own right. In 2006, she released her first solo effort, “Dust and Bones.” On March 9, 2010, she released her album, “Are You Ready To Die,” a five-song set including her song, “Hells Bells” which was used in an episode of HBO’s “True Blood.” A year later, on March 1, 2011, Hearst released her third album, “Lions and Lambs.”
Trent also enjoyed solo success. In 2007, he released his self-titled solo album, followed by his second release, “The Winner,” in 2010.
“The whole band was completely by accident,” Hearst said. “We started playing together in bars just to make money but what I think people really latched onto is we’re very crafty with what we have to work with. We’re not musical virtuosos, but what we try to do is present songs with spirit and heart and leave the audience feeling something. Our style is songwriting based. It’s about the way we sing together, we both have very powerful voices. We could play without any guitars and we’d still be good. That’s what’s up.”
Combining their busy touring schedule with a small, portable recording setup, Hearst and Trent said they had to find many creative ways of recording the new album.
“We have a very modest recording setup, and it’s portable too,” Trent said. “We even ended up recording in hotels, our backyard, our house and even the van. The fiddle parts that were recorded for the album were all done in the van.”
For more information, visit the website www.shovelsandrope.com.