KNOW WHO'S NEXT: Turning Folk Music into Rock 'n' Roll with Shovels & Rope
  • WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2016

  • Posted by: Nick Chow

[Photo Credit: Curtis Wayne Millard]



Folk music isn't for everyone, I get it. I've spoken to many people about folk music, and the biggest complaint I've gotten about the genre is that it's "too boring" for them. "Who wants to listen to a bunch of hipster troubadors on guitars softly sing about rain and birds and shit? Whatever happened to good music," they would ask me. At this point, I'm usually resisting the urge to punch them, but now I can do something else: introduce them to Shovels & Rope.



You see, Shovels & Rope's music isn't just folk. It's folk with a bite. That's probably because their music bares a striking resemblance to rock and roll. They have all the staples of good folk music, but let electric guitars and heart-stomping drums accompany it all. Throw in some New Orleans flavors, and you end up with a fuller, rougher, louder kind of folk. They're the gritty reboot of Mumford & Sons, but unlike most gritty reboots, they're really good.

Shovels & Rope is made up of only two members, Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent. They're also married, which means they're the coolest couple I can think of. They met in Charleston, South Carolina in 2003 and got married in March of 2009, but Shovels & Rope didn't form until much later. Both Hearst and Trent had solo music careers before they were married and continued to work solo afterwards. It wasn't until 2012 when they decided to combine their talents and create Shovels & Rope, named after an album they co-billed back in 2008.



Their latest album, Little Seeds, holds some of their best work yet. They bring their "folk and roll" sound to new heights and show us what it can really do. Just the first two songs alone, "I Know" and "Botched Execution," will showcase that flawlessly. They can also dial the volume back down and return to a more traditional folk sound with just as much success. Their ability to be that fluid with their sound while still keeping folk's musical and storytelling roots intact is amazing and that's why I appreciate them so much. They show you that folk music can be just as versatile as any other kind of music. Even if you don't listen to folk music, Shovels & Rope will prove to you that there is plenty to appreciate about the genre.

We'll be releasing a session with the duo really soon, so keep a look out for them in the future.
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