Shovels & Rope, the husband-and-wife duo individually known as Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, recently made their debut on the venerable Grand Ole Opry stage, performing the gospel-tinged “The Devil Is All Around.” The tune shares the same back-to-what-was theme that the couple has employed on their three albums, including the just-released Swimmin’ Time.
While playing the Opry is far from the only prestigious gig they’ve scored (they’ve also appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman and won Song of the Year at 2013’s Americana Honors & Awards), they’re one of the few younger acts to bring to the Opry stage the kind of throwback that dazzles critics and listeners alike. Perhaps that’s because they keep things pretty simple for themselves both on and off stage. The couple live in Johns Island, South Carolina, with their dog, Townes, and recorded and produced Swimmin’ Time in what they call “Home Studio Number 3.”
“We love what we do, but when we’re not out playing music we’d rather be mowing the grass,” Trent tells Rolling Stone Country.
“We can’t turn into dicks,” Hearst adds. “We promised each other that we would walk away from this in a heartbeat if it compromised our relationship. I don’t want to be miserable and divorced like that ‘Luckenbach, Texas’ song.'”