The husband and wife team are back with their seventh album
There is nothing better than a good storyteller. Shovels & Rope never fail to show their iconic duo through their music. And they are back at it again in their fourth, newest album, By Blood. Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst have always gone above and beyond when it comes to storytelling and character creation. The narrative and authentic lyrics can be relatable while still creating a beautiful compelling story. The intense personal themes throughout the album fluctuate, ranging from ghostly and provocative to gritty and raw. This album combines genres such as punk, rock and honky-tonk while still keeping the alternative indie style.
One of the more popular tracks on the album, “Mississippi Nuthin’,” tells a story about two acquaintances who reminisce about their days in high school and how times have changed. There are a series of emotions represented throughout the track, including jealousy, struggle, loneliness and distrust. The male character, a former first-string quarterback, makes a bold pitch to the other with an ambition we are not told. This character talks about the importance of his plan, yet alludes to the tragedies of their past creating a manipulating bribe. “Drove you everywhere/ or that time when Ronnie hit you so hard/ you tried to drive and wrecked your car/ and I had to help you wash the blood out of your hair.”
Another one of the album’s most-played is, “C’mon Utah!” This track invites us into the life of a character who is nonetheless exhausted, who relies on a calico horse named Utah to bring them home to Colorado. The exhaustion is strongly reflected in the lines, “I was thirsty, I was lost/ I was hanging on a cross/ I was dying to make it back to Colorado,” which are said in the opening and closing lines. The track has a country and alternative style vibe musically and lyrically written while having twangy, indie sounding vocals.
The By Blood album is a quick listen consisting of 10 songs that can all be heard in about 40 minutes. The spectacular album was created and produced by the duo in their home studio, which truly shows just how talented these individuals are. This fabulous album makes a great listen for lovers of alternative, indie, country and rock.