Shovels & Rope are an American folk duo from Charleston, South Carolina composed of husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. In 2017, Shovels & Rope founded the High Water music festival, that occurs annually in Charleston, South Carolina.
Cary Ann Hearst was born in Mississippi and attended the College of Charleston in 1997. During school she began performing music as a solo artist in local bars and venues and realised her talents for folk music. After graduating she toured, recorded and performed with various groups including Caravan and Borrowed Angels. Hearst first saw Michael Trent performing with his band The Films in 2002 and they began touring with various artists including Jump and Little Children. To begin their careers they each recorded solo albums, Hearst released ‘Dust & Bones’ in 2006 and Trent released a self titled LP in 2007.
In 2008 Hearst and Trent decided to record as a duo and released the album ‘Shovels & Rope’ as a co-bill under their individual names but they didn’t intend to work together permanently. Hearst and Trent married in March 2009 yet still continued to focus on their solo careers, releasing selected EPs and full lengths before committing to the duo in 2012. They released ‘O’ Be Joyful’ under the name Shovels & Rope and it peaked at #123 on the Billboard 200. They performed the single ‘Birmingham’ on the Late Show with David Letterman in January 2013 and the Americana Music Honors & Awards awarded Shovels & Rope the accolades of emerging artist the year and song of the year for ‘Birmingham’.
Following the new exposure and a heavy touring schedule where the couple play mixtures of original material and joint work, their 2014 album ‘Swimmin’ Time’ went top twenty on the US Billboard charts.