"A shovel and a rope is the minimum you need to get into and out of any sticky situation." It's refreshing that Shovels & Rope
's Cary Ann Hearst can still chuckle through an answer to a question she and her bandmate/husband Michael Trent have probably been asked a thousand times before. "So uh, tell us about that name of yours." Music journalism 101...maybe. But it's a good answer. "Our career has been fraught with sticky situations...most shows are fraught with sticky situations. So, it was apropos."
The Charleston SC based band took us through three songs from their recently released album Little Seeds
for our session ("I Know", "This Ride", and "St. Anne's Parade"). It's a poignant collection steeped in acoustic folk traditions, yet cranked up a bit on some tipsy, electric barroom heroics. "Sloppy-Tonk", as Michael fondly distinguishes it. It's also the culmination of a couple of crazy years for the band...their latest and greatest "sticky situation". For one, they had their first child together ("that
was wild", joked Michael). With Michael's father fighting Alzheimers, his parents also came to live with the couple. In between their various care-taking responsibilities, the couple would sneak down into their home studio in the basement and record songs. The clock was always ticking...babies tend to have their own schedule. So there's an urgent energy to Little Seeds
. There's also a lot of their story in it as well. "What's unique about the record is it's a little bit more personal than we like to get," Cary Anne told us. "But there was just a lot of stuff going on and we couldn't really get around it."
As you'll see in the three songs performed here, such emotional weight is ultimately to the listener's benefit. There are somber cuts. But there is also a whole heap of joy. "We are hopeful people and we are loving people. I think that's our mission from our the little platform that we have. Is to kind of encourage everyone to keep the faith...keep love and compassion in the forefront of their daily actions. I hope that is in our music...I hope that's what people can distill from it".