O’ Be Joyful Indeed!

Read our review of Shovels and Rope’s ‘O Be Joyful’


Shovels and Rope is a Charleston, South Carolina band consisting of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst.  Formed in 2010, they sing “harmony driven folk, rock and country songs using two old guitars, a kick drum, a snare, a few tambourines, harmonicas, and maybe a little keyboard sometimes. They tour constantly as a two piece, making as much noise as they can.” (official website).

The name Shovels and Rope is a nod to the songs on O’ Be Joyful which lean towards the murderous and the macabre, where some characters were hanging by rope and others were doing the burying by shovels.   The album was recorded at Our House studios, their van, backyard and various hotel rooms across America and has a down-home earthy intimacy about it.

“Birmingham” is the signature tune and has recently been nominated for Song of the Year in The Americana Music Awards (as well as an album of the year nod).  The song’s lyrics crackle with intensity and imagery:

Caught a 66′ Dodge to Caroline.
Got her education on her mama’s dime.
She was singing in a bar called Comatose,
Half way rusted on the salty coast

“Hail Hail” showcases the amazing harmonies of the duo and the driving rhythm that they can command – it cuts a hard riff and has a dixie feel about the horn arrangements.

“Tickin’ Bomb” is a bluesy number which threatens to explode and “Carnival” is a soft tale about alcohol, flowers and being left behind.  “Shank Hill St” is full of menace and the impact of some dark deeds – “it’ll be a long time till the sun shines on Shank Hill Street again“.  “Cavalier” features hand-clap beats and a fast-paced dual vocal thrust.

O’ Be Joyful made Paste‘s 50 Best Albums of 2012 and it seems their fan base has only continued to build in the wake of the release.  The deluxe edition of the album was released on May 21 and includes three new recordings.

Here are the 2013 tour dates

1 Jun Wakarusa Ozark, AR
4 Jun Tipitina’s w/ Dawes New Orleans, LA
5 Jun Alabama Music Box w/ Dawes Mobile, AL
7 Jun Buckhead Theatre w/ Dawes Atlanta, GA
9 Jun Ryman Auditorium w/ Dawes Nashville, TN
11 Jun Orange Peel w/ Dawes Asheville, NC
12 Jun Cat’s Cradle w/ Dawes Carrboro, NC
14 Jun Southgate House w/ Dawes Newport, KY
15 Jun Royal Oak Music Theater w/ Dawes Royal Oak, MI
16 Jun The Bluestone w/ Dawes Columbus, OH
18 Jun Mr. Smalls w/ Dawes Pittsburgh, PA
19 Jun 9:30 Club w/ Dawes Washington, DC
21 Jun Royale w/ Dawes Boston, MA
22 Jun Terminal 5 w/ Dawes New York, NY
25 Jun Nikon at Jones Beach Theater w/ Dave Matthews Band Wantagh, NY
26 Jun Nikon at Jones Beach Theater w/ Dave Matthews Band Wantagh, NY
8 Jul Door Community AuditoriumFish Creek, WI
9 Jul First Avenue w/ Dawes Minneapolis, MN
10 Jul First Avenue w/ Dawes – SOLD OUT Minneapolis, MN
12 Jul Barrymore Theater w/ Dawes Madison, WI
13 Jul Forecastle FestivalLouisville, KY
14 Jul Englert Theatre w/ Dawes Iowa City, IA
16 Jul Minglewood Hall w/ Dawes Memphis, TN
17 Jul Revolution Music Room w/ Dawes Little Rock, AR
19 Jul Off Broadway w/ Dawes – SOLD OUT St. Louis, MO<
20 Jul The Vogue w/ Dawes Indianapolis, IN
23 Jul Rams Head w/ Dawes Baltimore, MD
24 Jul Capitol Theater w/ Dawes Port Chester, NY
27 Jul Newport Folk Festival Newport, RI<
3 Aug Lollapalooza Chicago, IL
4 Aug Osheaga Festival Montreal, QC
15 Sep Grand Point North Festival Burlington, VT
21 Sep Bristol Rhythm & Roots Bristol, TN
4 Oct Austin City Limits Festival Austin, TX
11 Oct Austin City Limits Festival Austin, TX

Read our review of Shovels and Rope’s ‘O Be Joyful’

Read our review of Shovels and Rope’s ‘O Be Joyful’


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Author: Rob Dickens

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  1. Shovels & Rope – Swimmin’ Time | robdickens101 - […] first heard their debut album O’ Be Joyful in May 2013 and wrote a piece on it.  I subsequently…

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