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Shovels & Rope are Americana with a punk edge

 To save money, the members of Shovels & Rope have had to reduce their cell plan and leave their dog nearly naked.
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Date published: 11/8/2012


In a year that saw high-profile releases from the Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, "O' Be Joyful" has managed to make its own splash in the Americana genre. It's dirty and imperfect, the way Americana used to be, and the songs shine brighter than the product. As a result, things have been going well for Shovels & Rope, and the RV isn't the band's only recent upgrade.

"People are actually at the shows now," Heart said, only half joking. "During the first six months of our first tour, every venue we played was a new place for us. We never made any money. It was wintertime and scary and very dramatic, and it took a lot out of us.

"But I think it made us gangsta. We tightened up our game, got real professional about what we're doing and learned how to make sure people hear our music. Luckily, they seem to enjoy it."

Hearst and Trent have been enjoying themselves, too.

"Sometimes, it can be like a Norman Rockwell postcard," she says of the touring life. "We were driving under the Oklahoma sky last night. You know: big full moon, all the stars in the sky, open road. It was awesome."

Andrew Leahey is in Nashville, waiting for an RV of his own.

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What: Shovels & Rope Where: The Southern Cafe and Music Hall, 103 S. First St., Charlottesville. When: Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. Cost: $10 Info: thesoutherncville.com, shovelsandrope.com