South Carolina band Shovels and Rope just released their sophomore album O’ Be Joyful. It’s a calculating and impassioned offering of folk-country rock with a New Orleans twist.
The duo, made up of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, bring metaphors and storytelling imagery to life with hand claps, angry banjo plucking and gritty vocals draped in sincerity. It’s like they traveled down the Mississippi by riverboat, integrating bits and pieces of the waterway’s different musical influences into a Southern rock sound. At times you feel the influence of Big Easy jazz.
Trent and Hearst leverage that classic Louisiana feel with horns on tracks like “Hail Hail” and “Tickin’ Bomb”—a song about having a hidden crush on someone that is seriously ready to boil to the surface. There are also the more wistful tracks like “Lay Low” with its pensive banjo and “This Means War” which utilizes slow dancing strings.
O’ Be Joyful displays a lot of growth from the duo’s previous self-titled release, which seemed to exist in a more confined area of Southern folk music. On this second album, Trent and Hearst—perhaps influenced by music in the 200 or so cities they visited on their 2011 tour—have branched out. The result is a robust and emotional record, perfect for the transition from summer to autumn.
Photo taken from www.shovelsandrope.com