August Chronicles IV: Shovels and Rope at Tellus360
I mentioned this show in one of my blogs for Fig Lancaster but wanted to give it the full treatment. I had seen Shovels and Rope open for the Felice Brothers at Chameleon Club last fall. When I heard they were going to be the first ticketed show at Tellus360 in Lancaster, I pretty much went ape. It’s hard to imagine that just two people can stir up such a rockin’ ruckus but I’ve seen them do it twice now. Cary Ann Hurst and Michael Trent are Shovels and Rope and they are a roots/rock, wild-timey revival show!
Cary Ann plays guitar, stomps her feet, and sometimes kicks some drums. Michael plays guitar, drums, harmonica and pretty much anything else he can get his hands on. They both sing and their voices sound great together in both wails and whispers. She has the classic country sounds of Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton in her voice and every bit of their power and range. His voice is subtle yet stylish: think Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakum, John Doe. The themes and tones are classic but the phrasing and delivery make everything feel contemporary. It’s hard to explain yet easy to understand when you see and hear it live. You are back in time yet hurtling through the present moment.
Have no doubt; this is rock and roll. Their latest album O Be Joyful might look like an old-timey hymnal but it convinced Jack White to ask them to join his tour (they said yes). It might not be a kind of rock and roll you know but you will feel the familiarity. Remember watching O Brother Where Art Thou and your reaction to “Man of Constant Sorrow?”
My recommendation is to watch some of my videos from the show, follow Shovels and Rope on Facebook, subscribe to their email list and get out to see them immediately if not sooner.
As for Tellus360, you will not find a more intimate or rewarding music venue in this area. They only sell 60-70 tickets for each show. The entire building and all its contents are recycled or reclaimed wood. It resonates like a fine cello with every note of these performances. The shows are BYOB and folks come prepared to share. Their second ticketed event was Carsie Blanton and hell yeah, I went and blogged about it. Upcoming shows included the Table Top Anniversary show on November 3rd. These shows are how it all started at Tellus360: free, BYOB, SRO and open to the public. Sunday November 18 will also be very special with Tellus360 hosting Andrew Combs and Angel Snow, singer-songwriters from Nashville.