Birmingham SlossFest profile: Shovels & Rope

Birmingham SlossFest profile: Shovels & Rope
The award-winning husband-and-wife duo Shovels & Rope mixes country, folk and rock with a dash of punk. (Contributed)

Performer: Shovels & Rope

Type of music: Folk/Alternative Country

About: Shovels & Rope is the Charleston, S.C., husband-and-wife duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hurst. If their marriage is as magical as their harmonies, they will be a couple forever. The pair’s seamless vocals atop music that blends traditional folk, rock ‘n’ roll, country and punk make for a joyful noise. Or, as the couple’s Facebook page puts it, “What ever it is, its both pretty and loud and tells a good story.”

Trent and Hurst began telling good stories together in 2008 after years of working as solo artists, releasing an album named “Shovels & Rope” under their individual names. They continued to record and perform as solo acts. By 2012, though, they had cemented their status as a duo and released the well-received “O’ Be Joyful” as Shovels & Rope. The album grew their audience and their reputation, and they performed “O’ Be Joyful’s” indie hit “Birmingham” on “Late Night with David Letterman.” The song won an Americana Music Association award for Song of the Year in 2013, while the duo was chosen Emerging Artist of the Year.

“The Ballad of Shovels and Rope,” a 72-minute documentary produced by the Moving Picture Boys and released in 2014, traced the couple’s rise from playing for tips in bars to winning the Americana awards. Filming that was to last for several months took almost three years and included a successful Kickstarter campaign to help pay for the documentary. “The Ballad of Shovels and Rope” captured a slew of film festival awards.

The duo’s most recent album, “Busted Jukebox Volume 1,” is a collection of covers featuring artists such as Lucius, Shakey Graves, JD McPherson and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Shovels & Rope’s upcoming album, “Little Seeds,” is set for an Oct. 7 release.

You can follow Shovels & Rope on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Discography: “Shovels & Rope,” “O’ Be Joyful,” “Swimmin’ Time,” “Busted Jukebox Volume 1.”

You might have heard: “Birmingham,” “O’ Be Joyful,” “Fish Assassin,” “The Devil is All Around,” “Unknown Legend.”

Playing at SlossFest: Shovels & Rope will perform on the Steam Stage from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 16.

Sloss Music and Arts Festival takes place at the historic Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham July 16-17 and features 40 performers on four stages. Tickets can be purchased here.

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