Shovels & Rope Raise Hell With 'Devil' on 'Conan'

Americana duo stomp and harmonize with late-night TV performance of new song

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In support of their new album Swimmin' Time, released last week, Shovels & Rope brought their moody Southern gothic sound to cable TV last night with an appearance on TBS's Conan. The husband and wife band of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst performed the atmospheric "The Devil Is All Around," with Trent on acoustic guitar and Hearst playing drums and keyboard simultaneously.

Related Shovels & Rope perform.
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Although the song is haunting in its tone and imagery — "when the devil is all around/got you crawling on the ground/on your hands and knees with an apple in your mouth" goes the chorus — Hearst says she and Trent don't consciously attempt to up the spooky factor when writing.

"Neither of us sat down to write real heavy material. It comes from a pile of ideas from very different times," says Hearst of the Swimmin' Time sessions. "By the time we got the pile of songs and put them together, there was a lot of heavier stuff. All these themes have popped up. These are the themes that concern us as writers."

"The possibilities are kind of limitless and you can create whatever crazy characters you want to," adds Trent.

"And we're also really private," finishes Hearst. "So who cares about our stupid intimate feelings about anything. Get to the story!"

Shovels & Rope will bring their stories — from Swimmin' Time and their last two albums, including 2012's acclaimed O' Be Joyful — to audiences when they launch their headlining tour September 18th in Wilmington, North Carolina.

(reporting by Marissa R. Moss)