Shovels & Rope could quite possibly be one of the best-kept secrets of the previous year, but the secret will soon be out the door.
With a performance on "The Late Show with David Letterman" scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 31, the group will gain plenty of eyes before its show at Mercy Lounge in Nashville next week.
The husband and wife duo of Carry Ann Hearst and Michael Trent hail from Charleston, S.C., and perform with distinct Southern fluency and unrefined energy that is agreeable to any party involved.
Their most recent album, "O Be Joyful," has received praise from esteemed critics such as National Public Radio, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post over the past year.
“We were pretty surprised. We take pride in it musically and get behind it. We’re happy that people are picking it up and feeling attached to it,” Trent said about the success of the album.
Fans see that success as a blessing to fans because they both had their own gigs at one point in time.
In the early days, Trent and Hearst had settled in South Carolina. Hearst was born in Mississippi, but she had moved to Nashville where she went to high school and then veered to Charleston in 1997 after graduation.
On the other hand, Trent was a Colorado native who had landed in Charleston as well and met Hearst while touring.
“I had a good band and a steady gig, and I just hung out in Charleston, working and playing in bars. One thing led to another and we eventually ended up being married,” Hearst said about the start of the group.
The couple has been busy of late with a new tour, the a Late Show appearance, and making a new video for their celebrated track “Birmingham.”
The group couldn’t let the cat totally out of the bag, but they hinted it will be a day in the life of Shovels and Rope.
“We did the video two days ago before we hit the road. It’s going to be an action adventure film. We made it in Charleston. It’s neat,” Hearst said about the concept.
Also this past week, Shovels and Rope were added to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival and they were previously scheduled to perform at Wakarusa this summer.
With a heavy tour schedule and festival appearances, the group will take the spotlight on showcasing their talent to new audiences across the U.S.
“Those things are great. If we have a great run and we play for 500 people a night for five nights, that’s 2,500 people. With the festivals, a great amount of work gets done in a short amount of time,” Hearst said about the importance of playing the festival circuit.
“It gives us the opportunity to meet other bands who may have insight too. It’s a network of people out there. You can’t beat it.”
Playing night after night and traveling from town to town can take its toll, but the duo doesn’t let it get them down when performing.
“It not the easiest thing; we don’t have a big crew. We take care of logistics and then it’s time to do the gig. We’ve always played with a lot of energy,” Trent said about their live performance.
“It’s very cathartic too. You get a burst and that feels good,” Hearst added.
After playing Thursday, Feb. 7, at Mercy Lounge, the group will remain in Tennessee with a show at the Hi-Tone in Memphis on the following night before they head south to Birmingham and New Orleans.