Showing posts with label Shovels and Rope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shovels and Rope. Show all posts

Feb 16, 2022

Jun 7, 2018

Exclusive Video Premiere / The Underhill Family Orchestra / "When the Trumpet Sounds"

Today, we've got a video premiere from self-described "southern prog pop" group, The Underhill Family Orchestra. I'm glad I kept an open mind when I read the words "folk-rocking collective" in the introductory email. Normally, I'd have moved on, having been bored to tears by most "collectives" in the past, but I clicked play, and was immediately drawn in. "When the Trumpet Sounds" is rollicking folk rock with gospel undertones and a danceable tempo. This is an Americana band that actually sounds like they're having a great time, and it's infectious. Fun is not a bad word. Vocalist Steven Laney has some David Lee Roth swagger and even sounds like him a little, and that's awesome.  Give this video a look - it's hilarious - then give the album a listen - you won't regret it. Recommended if you like: Shovels & Rope, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, The Band, JD McPherson, etc.

Below the video, you can also stream the full album Tell Me That You Love Me.

Steven Laney about the video:
"This video is in part inspired by old straight to VHS movies and a lot of British television ('AbFab,' 'Red Dwarf') with the pacing of old casting reels. We have a good deal of sentimentality for that 90s cassette look from watching 'McGee and Me,' 'Captain Power,' 'Monty Python,' and the like. As we were creating the 'characters' we were playing, they became caricatures of ourselves and we just rolled with it. Ben is kind of a health nut and workout junkie, Roy is super organized, and I'm kind of a mixed bag that loves dogs of all kinds (hot and otherwise). The energy during the shoot was so fun because we knew what we were doing was silly and with that came a stream of creativity from every member voicing great content ideas."


Jan 15, 2018

New Blood: San Francisco's Critters

by Robert Dean

When you think of the Bay Area, you don’t expect a thriving roots music scene.  Yes, we know Hardly Strictly Bluegrass happens annually, and really – a San Francisco bluegrass scene? get outta here, right? The bay is known for churning out rock and roll legends, hippie dreams, iconic punk bands and metalheads, and rappers like Too Short and G Eazy. Roots music, not so much.

When you get past the initial shock of it all, there are a handful of super cool bands putting in the work and gigging throughout Berkley, San Francisco and Oakland. There are fiddles and washboards, murder ballads and downright good music planting the flag for Northern California and it’s fantastic.

One of the better bands coming out of the bay is Three Times Bad, a music collective more than a fully formed group in 2018, but rips nonetheless. As lineup changes have put Three Times Bad on hold, a side project has sprung up featuring the funky duo of Raheemah Nitoto and Sam Caine, respectively known as Critters.

Critters is a simple call, and response take to an older style of folksy Americana ala Devil Makes Three and early Shovels and Rope. Critters are just getting their legs and have only released a few videos via their page, but they’re worth keeping an eye and ear for.

At their core, the selection of songs Critters has released so far seem like tunes that reflect a night out at the bar, drinking tallboys and stomping away as folks holler along. Because of their stripped down, bluesy nature, Critters tunes are easily digestible and don’t ask for much more than a good time. It’ll be fun to keep an eye on the duo since it’s just the two of them and that cuts the red tape way down and sends the output way up.

Keep your eyes on Critters y’all, they’ve got the DNA to be a damn fine soundtrack for a night out at the local pub, in California, Chicago or even eastern Kentucky.

Aug 9, 2016

Jun 20, 2014

YouTube Gems (New Video): Shovels & Rope

From their forthcoming album, Swimmin' Time, here's Shovels & Rope with "The Devil is All Around."

Jul 11, 2013

Live Review: Dawes and Shovels & Rope

Dawes and Shovels & Rope at 9:30 Club 6/19/2013

by Matthew Martin

Around the time I heard Dawes was coming to D.C. again, a pretty big and gut-wrenching change occurred in my life. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the details, but it was enough to throw me off track for quite some time. So, I forgot about the Dawes show and rode a couple months of less than great luck. Before I knew it, the Dawes show sold out. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed.  

But then, on a whim, I decided to enter the contest Dawes had listed on their website/twitter which was simple- enter your name and email address and you could win a meet & greet, a signed set list, and 2 tickets to the show of your choice. And, I won. My luck is changing!

As seems to be the case with a lot of shows I have written about here, Shovels & Rope opened the night with their increasingly popular and well-oiled brand of Americana. There isn't a whole lot more I can say about Shovels & Rope that I haven’t said before. Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent traded instruments, per usual. Hearst was her charismatic self and the crowd was eating out of the palm of their hands by the time they ended with the biographical “Birmingham.” Really, their live show is something to behold. As great as their albums are, they just can’t do Shovels & Rope justice.  

Dawes has recently released a stellar third album- Stories Don’t End- and I was very excited to hear many of the songs from the album that had already become among my favorite Dawes recordings.

The show started with the first single off of the new album, “From a Window Seat.” One of the first things you notice at a Dawes show is that the reserved nature of the band on their albums really gives way to intense performances by Taylor Goldsmith. It’s one of my favorite things about seeing Dawes. If someone says Dawes is a bit softer for their taste, I always encourage them to see Dawes live.  

The band ripped through songs from all 3 of the albums with songs like “Peace In the Valley,” “Million Dollar Bill,” “From the Right Angle,” and more. Where pure elation really occurs at a Dawes show is when they play, what is likely, their most famous song- “When My Time Comes.” There is truly something cathartic about screaming/singing along with 1200+ other concertgoers to the chorus.  

Taylor Goldsmith owns the crowd as a singing, guitar slinging frontman. He saunters from each side of the stage to the next.  He demands attention from everyone in the crowd. And on this sold out night at the 9:30 Club, attention was all his. That’s not to take away anything from the rest of the band.  It is extremely apparent that this is a band that has spent years on the road, fine-tuning every nook and cranny of every song. It’s simply that Taylor Goldsmith is the frontman, and he wears that badge proudly and confidently.  

The show ended, apparently, on “A Little Bit of Everything” which is a truly great song to end a show on. The song may have some of the best lines Goldsmith has written. I could have ended the night right then. But, as we all know now, the end is never really the end.  So Dawes came out for two more songs, inviting Shovels & Rope up to end the evening with Traveling Wilburys song “End of the Line.” It was a great night ending with two bands I really enjoy singing a song by a band everyone loves, or at least should love.

As I always say, what I say pales in comparison to seeing the band for yourself. If you aren’t a fan of the albums, that’s fine. Go see them. Discover what they are all about. I think you will be very impressed by the show you see.  

Apr 10, 2013

Live Review: Lucero and Shovels & Rope, D.C.

Lucero and Shovels & Rope - 9:30 Club - 3/20/2013

By Matthew Martin

(Written before Matthew's Ronnie Fauss show review)
It's been a while since I've written about a show, but the pickins have been pretty slim up here in the nation's capitol.  Luckily, that drought ended on March 20th when Lucero came to 9:30 Club bringing Shovels & Rope in tow.

First, Shovels & Rope was up to get the crowd revved up for Lucero.  The past few months have been great for Shovels & Rope.  I have seen Shovels & Rope a few times in the past year and each time the amount of people that are showing up to hear them is larger and larger.  This time was no exception.

I read not too long ago (on NPR maybe?) that you should always try and make it to the opener because in a lot of cases the headliner has hand picked them.  Assuming this is, in fact, the case, Lucero picked a great opener and the crowd definitely showed up.

Playing their particular brand of folk/country music, Shovels & Rope got the crowd moving early on and really never let up.  They played a few songs I hadn't heard them play before such as "Who's Gonna Raise These Babies?"  They also played the standards that have made people fall in love with them so easily- i.e., my personal favorite "Birmingham."  The energy exhibited by Shovels & Rope is transferred to the crowd with ease.

By the end of their set, the crowd was buzzing about how incredible they thought Shovels & Rope were.  There were lots of looks of pure astonishment going around.  It was great seeing so many people appreciate what it is Shovels & Rope are doing.

Next up was the incomparable Lucero.  Seeing a Lucero show is always very interesting- you never know what the crowd is going to be like.  The crowd for this particular show was an excited, but not too rowdy, bunch.  

Lucero has continued to grow into their own on each passing album.  Starting off as  a bit of a rough edged country rock/punk band, they have added horns to their sound to build a sound that is distinctly their own.  A brand of Memphis country-soul-rock they wear with outright pride.

They started off with a strong set of old and new songs all backed by the very talented horn section.  It was worth noting that Todd Beene did not make the show here in Washington, D.C. because his other band, Glossary, had a string of dates they were playing.  So, while his very talented steel pedal playing was missed, everyone else picked up the slack.

Halfway through the set, the band decided to play a set of new songs that will be coming out on an EP soon (maybe Record Store Day- 4/20/2013?).  One of the strongest songs to come out of these songs was "Texas and Tennessee."  Another great lost love song that we have all come to know and love from Lucero.

As is typical for a Lucero show, the pace got a bit more rowdy as the night went on.  More whiskey was consumed than was probably necessary.  Even more beer was passed around.  Songs like "All Sewn Up" and "Tears Don't Matter Much" sent everyone into a whirlwind of elation and energy.

By the end of the show, all of the crowd's energy was spent, but seemed like we could have continued on for a few more songs.  Unfortunately, every thing must come to an end and this show was no exception.  Either way, Thursday was not a pleasant day for me, but any opportunity to see Shovels & Rope and Lucero in one evening is worth every bit of the pain endured!

I say it all the time, but go see either of these bands.  If you're coming to this site, you already know them.  So, go out and see them live to get the full experience.  Until then, pick up every album they own here and here.

Jan 10, 2013

FTM Top Albums of '12: Matthew's Top 10

-By Matthew Martin

1- Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires, "There is a Bomb in Gilead"- My God!  No band surprised me more this year than Birmingham's own Lee Bains III.  I witnessed them open up for Alabama Shakes in Baltimore and was just floored by these guys.  Evoking that Southern, soulful voice akin to fellow Alabama native Jason Isbell, Bains and his incredibly gifted band-mates have created an album that continues to grow stronger and stronger with each listen. 

2- American Aquarium, "Burn. Flicker. Die"- We've all heard it before, right?  Band hits road.  Band tries to make it.  Band gets weary.  Band breaks up.  This is where we meet BJ Barham and his band American Aquarium on their latest release: between weary and callin it quits.  What makes an album great is taking a subject we've heard and making it sound new and fresh.  Barham has done this to perfection with his road weary songs.  American Aquarium has had some really good albums, but this album achieves far beyond good- it is truly great.

3- The Pollies, "Where the Lies Begin"- Another great band from Alabama- there must be something in the water down there.  Listening to this album for the first time was such an awesome experience that I wish I could listen for the first time again.  I'm not sure you can get much better for a debut album.  Everything on this album works perfectly- from the interplay of instruments to the Jim James-esque echo vocal effects.  Just try to listen to this album and not be taken aback.  

4- Titus Andronicus, "Local Business"- Everyone's favorite Nihilistic band came back from their massively heavy and successful 2010 album "The Monitor" to record a more basic rock and roll record.  Recorded with the same 4 folks who had been touring for the last few months as Titus Andronicus, this album hits the ground running and really never lets up.  This album has less of the bombast than the previous 2 albums (i.e., no spoken intros, no droning noise, etc.), but Patrick Sickles and crew still run through 7+ minute songs at break-neck speed.  

5- Lucero, "Women & Work"- I don't know how Lucero continue to get better, but they do.  Taking the Memphis soul sound they incorporated on "1372 Overton Park," they honed their sound in to make this incredible album.  The songs on this album are your typical Lucero songs, but then you add in songs such as "Sometimes" and "Go Easy" and you have possibly their best album since "That Much Further West."  Some folks don't like the horn section Lucero have taken up, but I couldn't be more on board.  It works incredibly well for their sound and Nichols' gruff voice.  (Also, anyone else notice "Like Lightning" being played during some college and pro football games this year?)

6- Shovels & Rope, "O Be Joyful"- To truly appreciate Shovels & Rope, you should see them live, immediately.  Until then, this album serves as a great snapshot of their energy, harmony, and chemistry.  There have been a ton of "husband/wife" duos lately, it seems, but Shovels & Rope are doing everything right.  Some songs may initially seem sappy, but they play them with such sincerity and gusto that any sap is quickly overshadowed by their keen emotion.  There is no better song from 2012 than "Bimingham," which alone makes the album worth purchasing.

7- Arliss Nancy, "Simple Machines"- "I don't believe that we've been properly introduced.." So begins the newest album from Arliss Nancy.  I'd say that is a fair statement from the Denver rock band.  Their first album ("Dance to Forget") was a good album but this album shines much brighter due to upped production values, added instruments here and there, and a damn near perfect set of songs.  I'd say if you were just now hearing of Arliss Nancy this album would no doubt be the place to start and if you've been hesitating on listening, stop.  It's a great, catchy rock and roll album.

8- Natural Child, "For the Love of the Game"/"Hard in Heaven"- After seeing Natural Child open up for The Hold Steady this year, I went crazy for these guys.  The 3-man band from Nashville, TN were busy in 2012 releasing both "For the Love of the Game" and "Hard in Heaven."  I know it's probably cheating to include both albums here at #8, but when I was thinking about this list I couldn't pick a clear favorite.  Sounding like a combination of the Stones and the Ramones, Natural Child rock and roll through sleazy guitar licks and songs about women, partying, and drugs.  Just try to listen to these guys without moving.  I think it's impossible.

9- Alabama Shakes, "Boys and Girls"- I fell for this album and band hook, line, and sinker.  Talk about a powerful voice!  I think this is a fun, well-played, and well-written record.  While Alabama Shakes aren't really breaking new ground lyrically, they are laying down really great music and the songs are perfect vehicles for Brittany Howard to showcase her incredible vocals.  Also, it's really amazing how fast Alabama Shakes rose to stardom.  I'm sure it happens all the time, but it had never happened to a band I was on board with when they were just Alabama's best kept secret. 

10- Justin Townes Earle, "Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now"- Lots of folks aren't crazy about JTE's new album due to its subdued nature.  I, on the other hand, think it is the perfect Sunday morning album.  Once again, an artist added a horns section to an album and it worked perfectly.  The contemplative mood of the album works for Earle and the band he gathered to record with. This is a fine album that I believe will get much stronger with time.

Other albums just missing the top 10 include: The Bohanons- "Unaka Rising," The Gaslight Anthem- "Handwritten," Cory Branan- "Mutt," Shooter Jennings- "Family Man," and Patterson Hood- "Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance."

Sep 4, 2012

Concert Review: Shovels and Rope, Washington D.C., 8-22

Shovels & Rope At The Hamilton in D.C. 8/22/2012

Shovels & Rope don't suck.  In fact, they do the opposite of suck.  They prove as much with each song on their first two albums.  And, they prove it even more in a live setting.

Why would I start it this way?  Well, to be honest, there have been a glut of guy/girl duos recently (She & Him, Honeyhoney, The Civil Wars, and even The White Stripes).  Don't get me wrong, I really like The Civil Wars.  But, there is something refreshing about what Shovels & Rope is doing.  

Blending countless genres, Shovels & Rope deliver a talented, raucous live show.  Michael Trent (formerly of The Films) and Cary Ann Hearst switch up duties on guitar, drums, vocals, harmonica, and keyboard.

I showed up to The Hamilton in D.C. right around the time the opener was about to end.  I had a prior engagement, so I can't really vouch one way or the other for this guy- much less remember his name!  Around the time of the show, Shovels & Rope tweeted that around 100 tickets were left for the 450 capacity venue.  I'd say it was even fewer than that by the time they went on stage.  It was pretty impressive considering they had opened up for Jonny Fritz at the same venue a few months ago and there were maybe 75 people total.  

Not sure where the recent fans have come from, but it was a welcome sight for such a hardworking band.  

They opened up with the song that I generally use to convince people to listen to Shovels & Rope-"Gasoline."    What always impresses me about bands like theirs is the amount of sound being cohesively created by two people.  It seems there must be one more hand on stage creating one of the many sounds being heard.  However, you look on stage and see that it is only Trent and Hearst switching up/blending instruments and vocals.

By the time the first 5 songs are done, both are dripping in sweat from the amount of work they are putting into a Wednesday night show.  It was also around this time that those sitting down migrated to the front of the stage.  Every driving, rock and roll song was met with dancing and swaying.  Each slow song was met with relative silence and attention.  Fortunately for those mover-and-shaker types, Shovels & Rope have more quick-paced songs up their sleeves.  Throughout the night they played most of the songs in their 2 album catalog, including what is quickly becoming my new favorite Shovels & Rope song- "Birmingham."

So the show went, with Trent and Hearst playing every instrument.  The chemistry between the two was insurmountable and each word not sung out to the crowd was sung directly into each other's eyes.  While this could be a distraction at times, Shovels & Rope pull it off.  It is a "show" after all.  You are there not only for the music.  You are there for the stage act.  

I'm not implying they are acting out their affection for each other.  I merely mean to say- remember that while the music is the most important thing, pay attention to all facets at a show.  It's easy to see those loving what they do and those trying to love what they do.  Shovels & Rope clearly love what they do and they love who they are doing it with: themselves.  

Get all of their albums here.


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