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Shoves & Rope dig having baby on board this year

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2016

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The new "Little Seeds" is Shovels & Rope's first album as "adults." Kind of.

The South Carolina duo's fifth album is the first for Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent since Hearst gave birth to their first child, a daughter. So "Little Seeds" looks hard at the real world, including the AME Church shootings in their home base of Charleston, a friend's murder, Alzheimer`s disease, race relations and, yes, parenthood. There's some dark humor, and plenty of the Southern Gothic flavor that's infused its predecessors.

It's a different Shovels & Rope that's touring to promote "Little Seeds," with baby and nanny on board. But Hearts and Trent say they're getting acclimated to these new rules of the road...

Impending parenthood was just part of the life developments that helped inform "Little Seeds'" songs. "I feel like this album is a reflection of so much of the personal stuff we were experiencing," Hearst says by phone from Chicago. "We were living with Michael's parents, and the aging of your parents and becoming parents for the first time definitely made us change and kind of rise to a new occasion, and I think that came through on this record. It's like a new, heavier filter that we're kind of looking at life through on this record. It's more grown-up in a way. I definitely feel that we kind of became adults in a different way."

Musically, too, Hearts and Trent tried to expand on "Little Seeds." "I feel like we sort of stretched out," explains Trent, who does all the instrumental work on the albums. "You learn a lot during the touring process between records. I feel like going into this recording process we took just a more high-energy approach that's been showing up in the live shows. We're not afraid to turn up the guitar and explore a little more with pianos and organs and stuff. And we didn't feel bad about getting real sparse, either, when it called for it. It was a creative stretching type of record for us."

It's a new world for Shovels & Rope with a one-year-old extra passenger -- who's just starting to walk -- aboard the bus. "It's a little challenging to keep a baby happy and healthy on the road, but it's been amazing," Hearst says. "It's a different time management type of things, and time management is not my specialty. So we're just kind of working it out so we can make sure everybody's happy and healthy and clean and eating. We have an awesome nanny that kinda helps make it all possible. But there's no twiddling our thumbs now; I'm not sure what we used to do with our free time before she came."

Shovels & Rope and Matthew Logan Vasquez

Monday, Oct. 10. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.

Tickets are $20.

Call 313-961-9358 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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