As 2017 came to a close – a year of political tumult, tragedy and protest – Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent of Shovels & Rope decided that they needed a bit of a rallying cry to cope with what was to come next. "We felt like we needed to give ourselves and our fans a national pep talk," Hearst and Trent tell Rolling Stone Country about "Great, America (2017)," written in a Denver hotel this fall after the duo returned from touring abroad. Full of the band's signature kinetic fury, it captures a time when our president believes fake news over climate change and guns are legal but some people aren't. To make the song's impact more tangible, Shovels & Rope have decided to donate all proceeds from "Great, America" to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, an organization that provides medical and psychological care to veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
"This song represents our observations and feelings regarding many of the overwhelming events of the year 2017," the duo says about the track, which sounds inspired by Lifted-era Bright Eyes. "Jet lagged and feeling sensitive to the world politic, we turned on the news and it was a barrage of floods and fires, civil rights protests being confused with anti-patriotism, and escalating nuclear and refugee situations. Everybody gets weary, but we are always faithful in the hearts of people who put love and community first. We hope that we can contribute to a constructive conversation about how we should be acting toward one another and set a good example in our own lives."
When purchased here, all proceeds from "Great, America" will go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which is currently working to build nine treatment facilities across America specifically designed to handle traumatic brain injuries, five of which are already operational and serving military families. "These injuries continue to affect hundreds of thousands of military personnel," says David Winters, President of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. "It is thanks to these kinds of donations that we can continue to build specialized medical facilities, called Intrepid Spirit centers, that diagnose and treat these service members and help them on their road to recovery."
Shovels & Rope are currently on the road as part of their intimate An Evening With Shovels & Rope tour, landing next in Birmingham, Alabama, this Friday.