Shovels & Rope, Hurray For The Riff Raff at Off Broadway 2/25/14

IMG_1243Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent have both previously released solo albums, they’re both really into Townes Van Zandt, and they both raise chickens. Incidentally, they also both know how to tear apart a rock and roll club like an EF-5 tornado while performing as their moniker Shovels & Rope. Last night at Off Broadway they proved themselves to still be one of the most reliably great touring bands on the road today.

They have a new album on the horizon with the joint Dualtone (U.S.) / Dine Alone (Canada) label that they’ll be announcing later this year. They’re meeting with their Dualtone peoples tomorrow to settle on an official U.S. release date and when to announce that release date. Timing is everything, so the record labels say. But with the classic charm and timeless songwriting of Shovels & Rope, it’s hard to imagine that a thing like timing really matters all that much. Everything they do gets hearts racing and breaking in the kind of way that only the chemistry between Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent can do.

There was little mention of this new record at Off Broadway last night but they did promise to “dust off some old songs” as they scattered in new songs from the upcoming record. It’s pretty typical for new, unheard songs to be met with a tame reaction from an audience but that wasn’t the reaction with the new Shovels & Rope tunes. They no doubt continue to give folks what they come for and play the hits, but it’s really the unexpected surprises at a sold out club that makes this show and their current tour such a special time in their career.

Show Highlight: After copious requests for the band to perform “Lay Low,” they finally delivered the goods with everything they could muster. The room’s attention was fixated toward the stage to watch a performance that can only be described as really damn good. As Cheryl “Cherilla The Thrilla” Wilson said last night, “They really just play for each other.”

Sweet Surprise: Openers and Shovels & Rope tour buds Hurray For The Riff Raff winning the entire place over was pretty staggering. Definitely catch this band perform live when you get the chance.

Shovels & Rope

IMG_1190IMG_1233IMG_1249Hurray For The Riff Raff