• James Harvey

Album Review - By Blood - Shovels & Rope - 2019

By Blood - Shovels & Rope

There is a Facebook post where people are asked to pick twenty albums, over twenty days, that changed their life or had a massive impact on it. One of my picks was the Shovels & Rope album. I maybe a little biased coming into this album; I listened to it with someone who was special to me at the time. She may have moved on, but the memories linger, so I will try to put that aside as I dive into, ‘By Blood’, Shovels & Rope’s, latest offering.

The album opens with ‘I’m Coming Out’. A hard-folk rock call to the shy, the downtrodden and the forgotten; to stand up and make their voice heard. It’s as powerful as it is meaningful, a show of force for the rest of the album to follow on, something it does in shovel loads (one pun down).

What follows is ‘Mississippi Nuthin’’, normally this would be a slight interlude between tracks with its tale of a rocky relationship. Yet, Husband & Wife team, Michael Trent & Cary Ann Hearst, don’t do things by the book. They have their own sound and rules. So instead of that downbeat soft country sound, they turn the music up as the vocals pick up pace to create a wonderful hard-hitting story of a long-term relationship with all the twists and turns you would expect from it.

This hard rocking sound continues into ‘The Wire’ before we finally get a respite with ‘C’mon Utah!’; but this is just temporary as we are led in with a more acoustic sound before the drums kick in again and we are right back into top gear. There is no let-up in ‘Carry Me Home’ a moving and emotionally charged track.

Then we hit ‘Twisted Sisters’, one line in the track states ‘But They Will Blow Your Little Mind’. This song did just this for me. A simple story of tornadoes smashing through the neighborhood, makes one of the most enjoyable songs I’ve heard in a long time and it's one you just can’t help dancing to.

The album then carries you on a journey of life’s ups and downs, intertwining like the fibres of a rope (phew, got in the second one!), all the way to the title track, ‘By Blood’.

A song about pure unadulterated love, a promise of good things to come and an emotional farewell, all wrapped up in high emotion and personal feeling, bringing to an end a fantastic album which without a doubt in my mind, is their best album to date.

Check out more information on their website including details of their new film: Shovels & Rope.

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