Shovels & Rope
The Newport Folk Festival may not be a monster fest on the order of a Bonnaroo or a Coachella, but it has rejuvenated itself over the last half dozen years into a premier summer stop for a broad range of alternative, indie, country-rock and folk acts. Much of the rejuvenation has been the result of a conscious decision by festival organizers to loosen the definition of “folk” to include a much wider swath of bands – really anybody who could plausibly include an acoustic guitar at least somewhere in their set list.
The Charleston, SC duo Shovels & Rope entered the Americana Awards & Honors last week leading all nominations with four. The multi-talented husband & wife team of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent left the historic Ryman Auditorium that evening with two of the top honors, Song of the Year (“Birmingham”) and Emerging Artist of the Year.
After a summer playing dates with the likes of the Allman Brothers Band and Tedeschi Trucks, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals brought it all back home to Vermont for Grand Point North, the two-day music festival they host at Waterfront Park on the banks of Lake Champlain in downtown Burlington.
Blown away.If you have the opportunity to see Shovels & Rope live in concert, go. I caught the duo at the intimate Bluebird Theater in Denver on their 35th day on the road. A straight month of playing across the country did not wear these two out; the energy on stage was incredible. This was the best show I've seen in a long time, and I see a lot of music. Everything was right.