Shovels & Rope

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Shovels & Rope
Shovels and Rope at Red Rocks Amphitheater July 13 2014.JPG
Shovels & Rope playing Red Rocks Amphitheater on July 13, 2014
Background information
OriginCharleston, South Carolina United States
GenresAmericana, folk, alternative country
Years active2008–present
LabelsDualtone, Dine Alone
Associated actsThe Films

Shovels & Rope are an American folk duo from Charleston, South Carolina composed of husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. Combining threads from their individual solo careers, Shovels & Rope blends traditional folk, rock and roll and country rock.


Cary Ann Hearst was born in Mississippi in 1979 and raised in Nashville from 1987 until she attended the College of Charleston in 1997. During school she began performing music as a solo artist in local bars and venues.[1] After graduating she toured, recorded and performed with various groups including Caravan and Borrowed Angels.[2] Hearst saw Michael Trent, born in Denver but relocated to Charleston, performing with his band The Films in 2002 and they began touring with various artists including Jump, Little Children.[3] Hearst released her first solo album Dust and Bones in 2006 and Trent released his self-titled solo album, also his first, in 2007.

In 2008 Hearst and Trent recorded and released the album Shovels & Rope as a co-bill under their individual names, not intended to ever create a permanent act.[4] Hearst and Trent married in March 2009 and continued to perform and record their music for their individual solo careers.[3] Hearst released the EP Are You Ready to Die in 2010 and the LP Lions and Lambs in 2011. Trent released The Winner in 2010.[5]

At the end of 2010 filming began on a documentary titled The Ballad of Shovels and Rope about their life as a band. Originally slated for only 3 months of filming, it didn't end until September 2013. After filming finished a Kickstarter campaign was launched to help get the film finished and released.[6]

In 2012, the pair committed to their joint venture and released an album together under the Shovels & Rope moniker entitled O' Be Joyful, which reached #123 on the Billboard 200.[7][8]

The band made their network television debut playing "Birmingham" on Late Show with David Letterman, January 30, 2013.[9] On September 18, 2013 at the Americana Music Honors & Awards Shovels & Rope received the honors of emerging artist of the year, as well as song of the year for their song "Birmingham".[10] They also appear in an end scene, and provide the episode background music, for the Charleston episode of CNN's Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.[11]

The Ballad of Shovels and Rope premiered at the 2014 Cleveland International Film Festival.[12] The documentary went on to win Ground Zero Tennessee Spirit Award for best feature at the Nashville Film Festival[13] and Best Feature Documentary at the Port Townsend Film Festival[14]

Their third album, titled Swimmin' Time, was released on August 26, 2014 on Dualtone Records and debuted at #20 on the Billboard 200.[15][16] On November 20, 2015, Shovels & Rope released a cover album titled Busted Jukebox Vol. 1, featuring ten cover songs with help from nine other bands including The Milk Carton Kids, Shakey Graves, and Lucius.[17]

Shovels & Rope were featured on the song Great Night on the album H A R D L O V E with their fellow South Carolinian folk and rock band NEEDTOBREATHE in July 2016.[18] On October 7, 2016 Shovels & Rope released their fourth studio album Little Seeds on the New West Records label.[19] On December 8, 2017 the band released a second cover album titled Busted Jukebox Vol. 2 which features ten cover songs with help from nine other bands including Brandi Carlile, Rhett Miller, and John Moreland.[20]

As Shovels & Rope tour they typically perform a mix of songs from their solo careers and the combined ventures.[21] Some of the songs authored by Shovels & Rope chronicle historical events. "Thresher" from their 2014 album Swimmin' Time references the April 10, 1963 sinking of the USS Thresher (SSN-593). "Missionary Ridge" from their 2016 album Little Seeds references the November 25, 1863 Battle of Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

On August 10, 2018 the band released a compilation vinyl titled Predecessors including Michael Trent's 2010 album The Winner, Cary Ann Hearst's 2011 album Lions and Lambs and a disc of covers and previously unreleased demos.[22]

On January 15, 2019 the duo announced an April 12th release of their new album, By Blood, via Dualtone Music and released a new track, "The Wire".[23] On March 4, 2019 it was announced that the band's first concert film titled Shovels & Rope: The Movie would debut on March 15, 2019 at the Charleston Film Festival.[24]


  • Cary Ann Hearst - lead and backing vocals, guitar, drums, keyboard, percussion
  • Michael Trent - lead and backing vocals, harmonica, guitar, drums, keyboard, percussion



Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Indie US
US Rock
Shovels & Rope
  • Release date: December 2, 2008
  • Label: Our House
- - - - -
O' Be Joyful 123[8] 1 22 7 42
Swimmin' Time[25] 21[16] - 6 1 5
Busted Jukebox Vol. 1 - - 27 11 42
Little Seeds 83 - 15 4 19
Busted Jukebox Vol. 2 - - - - -
By Blood
  • Release date: April 12, 2019
  • Dualtone Records


  • "The Devil is All Around" (2014) [26]

Music videos[edit]

Year Video
2013 "Birmingham"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated Work Result
2013 Americana Music Association Emerging Artist of the Year Shovels & Rope Won
2013 Americana Music Association Duo/Group of the Year Shovels & Rope Nominated
2013 Americana Music Association Song of the Year "Birmingham" Won
2015 Americana Music Association Duo/Group of the Year Shovels & Rope Nominated


  1. ^ 6/19/12 — Delta Mama and a Nickajack Man… the short version of a long story —
  2. ^ Retrieved 4/27/14 — Cary Ann Hearst credits —
  3. ^ a b 7/24/12 — Shovels & Rope's Michael Trent & Cary Ann Hearst Make Joyful Noise —
  4. ^ 12/6/12 — Interview with Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope on "O' Be Joyful" —
  5. ^ Retrieved 4/27/14 — Shovels & Rope biography —
  6. ^ The Ballad of Shovels and Rope - Music Documentary Kickstarter. Retrieved on 2015-09-16.
  7. ^ 11/14/12 — Catching Up With Shovels & Rope —
  8. ^ a b Retrieved 4/27/14 — Shovels & Rope charts —
  9. ^ 1/31/13 — Shovels & Rope appear on Letterman Show —
  10. ^ 9/19/13 — Emmylou Harris, Shovels & Rope Win Big at Americana Awards —
  11. ^ 6/25/16 - Parts Unknown Episode 8, Season 6 -
  12. ^ The Ballad of Shovels and Rope Press The Ballad of Shovels and Rope. Retrieved on 2015-09-16.
  13. ^ 2014 GROUND ZERO TENNESSEE SPIRIT AWARDS & TENNESSEE HORIZON AWARDS Nashville Film Festival. Retrieved on 2015-09-16.
  14. ^ Port Townsend Film Festival: Day Three closes with awards IMDB. Retrieved on 2015-09-16.
  15. ^ 4/17/14 — Video Premiere: Shovels & Rope - Album Teaser —
  16. ^ a b "Shovels & Rope's "Devil Is All Around" Goes Top 20". 9/4/14. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  17. ^ "Shovels & Rope Explains Its New Covers Album, Track By Track". Retrieved 2016-01-09.
  18. ^ 6/25/2016 - NEEDTOBREATHE release new song ‘GREAT NIGHT’ feat. Shovels & Rope - Vents Magazine
  19. ^ "Review: Shovels & Rope, 'Little Seeds'". Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  20. ^ "Hear Shovels & Rope's new 'Busted Jukebox' LP one week before it drops". Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  21. ^ Gendron, Bob. "Shovels & Rope share instruments, chemistry, magic at Thalia Hall". Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  22. ^ "Shovels & Rope Release Three LP Package on Friday - Holy City Sinner". Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Shovels & Rope Keep It in the Family With 'Mississippi Nuthin' & 'Carry Me Home': Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  25. ^ 5/5/14 — Acclaimed Duo Shovels & Rope To Release Highly Anticipated Sophomore Album "Swimmin' Time" August 26 via Dualtone Music —
  26. ^ "Future Releases on Triple A (AAA) Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on 2014-06-27.

External links[edit]