Shovels & Rope got their name from an album about murderers and grave diggers they wrote as the yet-unmarried duo Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent in 2008. Four years later, they’ve officially tied the knot and released their first album, recorded in their house and in the back of vans under their ghastly new moniker, entitled O’ Be Joyful. Switching off between either drums, acoustic guitars, and recently a keyboard, the South Carolinians bring us into a world of trial and tribulation covered in a battered and beautiful varnish they’re slowly picking apart. Though their sound is simple enough for a front porch summer afternoon, Hearst’s and Trent’s powerful vocals filled with a familiar sense of desperation elevate their sparse sound to something absolutely and bitterly enchanting as soon as their voices collide.
Check out Shovels & Rope’s entire live in-studio performance on KEXP, including an interview with host John Richards, below: