Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Druid City continues slammer week with Shovels & Rope tonight


In an eclectic combination of rock ‘n’ roll, country, blues and punk rock, American folk duo Shovels & Rope will make their Tuscaloosa debut tonight under the smoky lights of Druid City Music Hall. 

Composed of husband and wife Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, the duo is more than ready to make noise and set the stage for an unforgettable evening of simple honesty through their lyrics, banjo strings and shakers. Though Hearst always dreamed of making it big on stage, it all began in a wood shop for Trent. 

“When I was young I honestly just thought I’d stick with some blue-collar job,” Trent said. “I worked at my brother’s wood shop and enjoyed it, but I was also introduced to music at a young age because my dad played music. Once I started writing my own songs and playing gigs I started getting it, and I just wanted to do it again and again and work at it and look forward to it outside of a job or school.”

Hearst was similarly introduced to music as her father played as well, and she began performing at just 14-years-old. Trent took the stage soon after at just 17-years-old. 

“You get just a taste of playing music and pretty quick it catches ahold of you for the rest of your life,” Hearst said. “After that, it’s just a matter of how you figure it out and keep showing up to work.”

Hearst strongly believes two things have been key to the band’s success: persistence to make it big in music, and appreciation for both the big and small moments on stage. She encourages any aspiring musician to consider the same.

“Being a musician or artist, you get like 99 rejections and one lucky break,” Hearst said. “That’s the secret, you don’t quit. It doesn’t matter to us how large or small the audience, if it’s 10 or 20 or 100 people, just being able to pluck an instrument and make some noise is a success to us, every single night.”

Hearst and Trent find inspiration in the unapologetic honesty and enlightenment of musicians like Tom Waits, Paul McCartney, John Prine and Bob Dylan. The unpredictability and long-term creativity of such musicians permeates into all endeavors of their musical career and overall outlook on life.

“It’s individuals like Tom Waits who inspires us because he’s unpredictable and doesn’t alter his music just to please everyone,” Trent said. “It’s a tough place as an artist because you want to explore and do something new and be creative while keeping a name for yourself, without just going along with the mainstream.” 

Hearst, on the other hand, is most inspired by Bob Dylan’s turning tables.

“He is so unwilling to be affected,” Hearst said. “I respect his cavalier attitude, how he turns the mirror back on the people trying to cast it onto him, reflecting on life, turning the tables on the opposition.”

Reminiscing on all of their performances, Hearst and Trent will never forget the moment they stepped onto the stage of the Late Night Show with David Letterman to perform one of their hits, “Birmingham.”

“In the eyes of our parents, it was extremely validating,” Trent said. “Like, it wasn’t just us being a little band doing little shows anymore, it was one of those one in 99 chances where you get an unforgettable break.”

When Hearst and Trent aren’t melodizing on the road or on stage, they are enjoying the simple things of home, playing in the grass with their two-year-old or throwing the ball for their dog, mowing the lawn or cooking a family meal. 

“It’s simple things, really,” Trent said. “That’s all it is, in our music and in our lives, it doesn’t need to be anything more complex.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

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