Photographed by Leslie Ryan McKeller
How could I not share a song called “Birmingham” by a Charleston based duo who met in Athens? Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, who formed two years ago, were introduced to me by my friend Tyler. I came home from my almost-a-full-month vacation to a ton of music in my Spotify inbox, this being one of the many albums. Their band name, Shovels & Rope, is what made me decide to listen to their album first. It’s a little creepy sounding. I had to hear it.
O’ Be Joyful is catchy and gritty and fun and country and rock and southern and weird and raw and just really, really dang good. The more I dig into it, the more unique it sounds, and the more I fall in love with it. These two are now on my must-see-live list after reading this on Saving Country Music: “Michael Trent is like the rock that Cary Ann swings around as the two swap instruments in a very stripped down setup of guitar, bass drum, and other orphaned percussive accoutrements procured along the way that they play too loudly sometimes and mostly in-time.” And let’s talk about how cool their documentary teaser is. I’m now dreaming of a trip to Charleston to take her up when she sings “Come to Carolina and your drinks are on me.”
Read about the documentary, The Ballad of Shovels and Rope, on Charleston City Paper.
Subscribe to Go Back Down South, my Spotify playlist for all the songs featured here.