South Carolina-based couple Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent make up Shovels & Rope, a perfectly raw, ragged, rough-and-ready duo creating rootsy folk rock muddied with a broad swath of rich, organic Americana. The pair's lo-fi and raucous live shows, blessed with a free-wheeling, on-the-fly attitude and a loosely packed but palpable chemistry, have taken them from club-to-club, coast-to-coast. Wielding guitars and an assortment of harmonicas while banging on a junkyard refugee drum kit, Hearst and Trent have created their own brand of country-tinged "righteous racket" on stage and their forthcoming longplayer O' Be Joyful, due July 31. Both solo artists and members of other bands when they met, the two teamed up to have some fun recording Ramones covers over a few beers. Soon, they began writing together while keeping what Hearst calls their mantra of "Creatio Ex Nihilo -- creating something out of nothing". Lean and loose, S+R keep the energy high the concept low, driving their songs with a single-minded passion and two entwined voices. For starters, tap into the elation at the core of "Birmingham" and the tattered acoustic balladry of "Lay Low".
Shovels & Ropes - "Birmingham" (from O' Be Joyful)
Shovels & Ropes - "Lay Low" (from O' Be Joyful)