Duo Shovels & Rope find harmony in music, family

Duo Shovels & Rope find harmony in music, family
Photo courtesy of Curtis Wayne Millard

By Christina Ausley | Staff Reporter 

This Friday, Feb. 9, American folk duo Shovels & Rope will return to Alabama to play Iron City Birmingham.

The band is on tour playing cozier venues like Iron City, as well as concert halls in New Orleans, Dallas, California and Jackson, Mississippi this month. 

“The main reason I think that we are doing these shows that have a little bit smaller venues is because it’s easier to connect with the audience and tell some stories and break out some new material,” said Michael Trent, a Denver native.   

Married duo Cary Ann Hearst and Trent met while touring separately on the road, though today, they perform side by side as Shovels & Rope.

“Both of our separate bands were opening for another band,” Trent said. “So we really just met on the road, and got married in 2009.”

In 2010, the two each developed a solo record and initially planned on continuing with their individual projects. Quality time with one another trumped the opportunity for independent success, however, and they decided to try at something together.

“It boiled down to the fact that the more success that we would have individually, the less that we would see each other,” Trent said. “So we just decided to throw all of our eggs in one basket and see if it worked for fun, and it ended up being the thing people were most interested in.”

Now, they're touring their newest record, "Busted Jukebox Volume 2." They're also making a return to Alabama, as they played Tuscaloosa’s Druid City Music Hall just last year.

“Even when we’re not on the road, we’re doing a lot of work with music,” Trent said. “We’re writing songs and recording, and we make all of our own records in our house.”

When the two aren’t dedicating their time to music, they’re enjoying time with their daughter, in the garden, or in the wood shop.

“We really relish home time and home life,” Trent said. “It’s great being on the road, but it’s also great being able to step off for a bit every now and then.”

A big moment for the band was their performance a few years ago on the "Late Show" with David Letterman.

“That was definitely a turning point in our career and we never really expected what happened,” Trent said. “It was something that showed that we were doing alright, and our families didn’t have to worry as much about us getting a so-called ‘real job,’ so it was a nice moment for them to see and relax and understand that we’re really doing something cool here.”

One student, Sam Wiley, saw the band last year and is excited to see them return to Alabama with new material. 

“I got to see them last year and it’s just incredible to see how much they’ve developed and how far they’ve come,” said Wiley, a sophomore majoring in communicative disorders. “I have no doubt this show will be just as incredible as the last.”

For more information and tickets, visit www.ironcitybham.com or www.vividseats.com. 

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