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Busted Jukebox, Vol. 1

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Album Review

Most artists are deeper into their career than Shovels & Rope when they decide to devote an entire album to covers; Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent had only released three LPs' worth of their own stuff before deciding it was time to start digging into other folks' songbooks with 2015's Busted Jukebox, Vol. 1. The album also finds S&R collaborating with a handful of other artists, with each tune featuring different guest vocalists or musicians who help the duo bring it home. Busted Jukebox, Vol. 1 gives Shovels & Rope a chance to show what they can do as interpreters and collaborators, and this concept plays to their strengths. Hearst and Trent's deep and greasy blend of Americana and indie rock works well with this eclectic batch of material, which ranges from vintage R&B (Toussaint McCall's "Nothing Takes the Place of You") and classic rock (Neil Young's "Unknown Legend") to Hearst and Trent's not-so-guilty teenage pleasures ("Patience" by Guns N' Roses and "Last" by Nine Inch Nails). They also work with artists who mesh well with their musical sense, in which they respect tradition while messing with it a little at the same time, and the songs are by and large stronger than their own work (which is no insult given the pedigree of the writers they're interpreting here). The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a fine fit for the mingled warmth and regret of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day," the Milk Carton Kids provide the right "3 A.M. in a cheap motel room vibe" on "Patience," Lucius add a welcome gospel undertow to Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," and JD McPherson wins Best in Show honors for his passionate and heartfelt reading of "Nothing Takes the Place of You." Busted Jukebox, Vol. 1 seems less like a stopgap than it might be coming from many artists, and it not only captures Shovels & Rope sounding strong and imaginative, it shows they have good taste in songwriters and performing partners, two qualities that never hurt.

Customer Reviews

Love em!

So talented. I have fallen head over heels for their music. Keep it up y’all.

More S&R!!

Update: Loving it so far, but I actually am a little sad about the collaborations. Most of the vocalists take away from/obscure Heart and Trent's vocals. The additions of others creates a dissonance in my ear and i just want to get rid of the superflous vocalists. Too many cooks are making this soup less tasty.

Could not be more excited for more S&R! Just bought the album and only had a chance to preview so far, but it seems to fit with what makes them great. :) So pumped to see a song with J. Roddy Walston!! I'll be back with a more full review once I had the chance to absorb this.

Shovels & DOPE!

Such a great album! I dig the collaborations. Looking forward to hearing more of you guys.


Formed: 2008 in Charleston, SC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Charleston, South Carolina-based indie folk duo Shovels & Rope consist of married singer/songwriters Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. Like Trent, who also played with the indie rock band the Films, Hearst had spent the years prior pursuing a solo career, utilizing her raw yet melodious and expressive voice to deliver a handful of albums, one of which landed a single, "Hell's Bells," in the 2010 season of True Blood. Inspired by the likes of Woody Guthrie, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, the Cramps,...
Full Bio
Busted Jukebox, Vol. 1, Shovels & Rope
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Customer Ratings