Carrie Ann Hearst is 7 1/2 months pregnant, but she seemed to relish the sun and heat on Saturday afternoon in front of a huge crowd at Forecastle Festival along the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville.
Hearst and husband Michael Trent — who together comprise Shovels & Rope — have one more pre-baby date at Floydfest, but if the Forecastle show was indication, the duo could play right up to the baby’s arrival if they wanted.
Living in Savannah, it’s been pretty easy to follow the rise of Charleston’s Shovels & Rope, who first landed on my radar screen around 2010 when Hearst was performing with The Unchained Tour.
I love Shovels & Rope, but I’ll confess to being a little surprised that the band has risen so quickly to such prominence. But I shouldn’t be surprised. In addition to beautiful songwriting filled with compelling stories and memorable choruses, the band has many other qualities that set them apart from many other talented Americana acts.
Hearst has such a big personality and wonderfully raspy voice that it’s easy to forget just how good Trent is. He has a beautiful voice — and you won’t find many multi-instrumentalists any better.
Trent and Hearst also perform literally right next to each other. A lot of young bands who have honed their skills in small venues will suddenly spread out if they hit a big stage, but not Shovels & Rope, who still successfully channel the intimacy of those early club gigs.
And then there’s the couple thing. There’s an obvious passion connecting Trent and Hearst, but they simply shook hands at the end of the Forecastle set, and Trent referred sort of wryly to their “spawn” that was literally between them.
Anyway, Saturday’s show was flat out great. There was a little magic in the hot, humid air. I took a lot of photos in hopes that a few would be satisfactory — but Trent and Hearst looked great in all of them. Here’s a sampling.