If there is a music style that can classified as “alternative country,” then the band Shovels & Rope would fit right in. This American duo from Charleston, S.C. is made up of the amazing husband and wife team of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. With acoustic guitars, tambourines, drums and harmonicas, this couple loves to tour and sing their hearts out. This band’s down-to-earth guitar playing and strong beats, mix together beautifully with the harmony of their singing. Yes, it is definitely country strumming; yet there is a dark rhythm to their tunes. Shovels & Rope is similar to Johnny Cash in that they are a combination of country and folk with a delightful alternative edge.
Michael and Cary Ann bring their own unique pasts of folk, rock and even some punk rock to create this edgy sound they are known for. The couple met in Athens, Ga. while on tour with a band called Jump Little Children back in 2010. They started out like most any band, making a few dollars here and there playing in local bars. Before that first year was over, they decided to go on tour and have not stopped since. Good thing because in concert they are unique and completely amazing.
In concert, their casual concert apparel leads audiences to feel like they are being entertained by family or friends. The audience can’t help but get up and dance to their live performances. Two fan-favorite songs, "Boxcar" and "Gasoline," never fail to bring out the inner musician of everyone there. Both being incredibly talented musicians, each can trade off instruments and vocals with a smooth transition. When the couple recorded their album Shovels & Rope, they really had not planned for them to become an act. Since then they have been on fire, releasing an EP called Are You Ready to Die and then an album called Lions and Lambs a year later. Their third album is called Swimmin' Time and their fans look forward to more.