Charleston, South Carolina-based indie folk duo Shovels & Rope consist of married singer/songwriters Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. Like Trent, who also played with the indie rock band the Films, Hearst had spent the years prior pursuing a solo career, utilizing her raw yet melodious and expressive voice to deliver a handful of albums, one of which landed a single, “Hell’s Bells,” in the 2010 season of True Blood.
Inspired by the likes of Woody Guthrie, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, the Cramps, and the soulful harmonies of Johnny Cash and June Carter, the pair provided tour support for like-minded artists such as Justin Townes Earle, Hayes Carll, and the Felice Brothers before heading into the studio to lay down the tracks for their debut. The resulting O’ Be Joyful, which channeled country, bluegrass, and blues through a nervy indie rock prism, was released in 2012. The album fared well with critics and roots music fans, and at the 2013 Americana Music Honors & Awards, Shovels & Rope were named Best Emerging Artist.