Mar 3, 2021 • 50M

20: Something out of nothing (w/ Shovels & Rope)

Open in playerListen on);

Appears in this episode

Paul Bowers
On struggles, schooling, and raw concrete in the dirty dirty south. A companion podcast to the Brutal South newsletter.
Episode details

My guests on today’s podcast are Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent of the band Shovels & Rope.

Most of the songs featured in this episode are from their latest album, Busted Jukebox Vol. 3, which you can buy at your local record store or download on Bandcamp.

I was thinking back to 2012, when I interviewed them for a profile in the Charleston City Paper. They were hugely popular in Charleston at the time, and after years of relentless touring they were finally breaking into the national scene for folk and Americana music. They were a little self-conscious about the first taste of success, which seemed like a good indicator that they wouldn’t let it go to their heads.

I got to see one of their last hometown shows before they really blew up, and it still ranks as one of my favorite concerts ever. It was a scorching August night at the Pour House, a James Island bar, and people were sweating and screaming and dancing their asses off in the crowd.

Onstage, Cary Ann and Michael were sweaty and delirious as the rest of us, stripped down to their undershirts and singing their guts out. They took turns keeping rhythm on a drumset that looked like it had been salvaged from the side of the road. It was bandaged together with duct tape, and they pounded away on the snare and floor tom with a plastic maraca.

They still play hometown shows, but they need a little bit more space now. They host the annual High Water Festival at a riverfront park in my neighborhood, a fact that brings me no small amount of civic pride. It’s been a vicarious thrill to watch them scrap their way into a successful career, and it was a pleasure to catch up with them about their art, their view of the world, and their adventures in parenting.


Twitter // Bookshop // Bandcamp // Apple Podcasts // Spotify Podcasts