Take the song “Tickin’ Bomb” with a great shuffle beat & the lyrics “Well, all bottled up/A beggin’ dog with my tongue out/I’m in my shell/and only you can make me come out”. Again the lyrics offer up an artistic relationship mixed with love: “Well play my song/All night long/I’ll be a tickin’ bomb/Tickin’ all night long.”
The most important aspect of Shovels & Rope though is the combination of playing the instruments themselves & finding new ways to perform their songs, something popular music has forgotten. See them here on David Letterman, playing "Coping Mechanism", a song from Swimming Time:
This group is seeking new ways to make Americana music swing & sway, & the artistic tension that must rub in a friction fraying their relationship at times. It certainly makes for great music. See them here playing acoustic at Pickathon with "Lay Low":
Again, they find a way to incorporate their collaboration as artists & musicians with their relationship, "Fumblin’ through all of the letters and notes/The ones that you wrote/Do they keep me afloat/Or just wrap around my throat like a noose on a rope?" It's a fresh sound.
I want to promote music like this: music that comes from people who spend their lives trying to master their art, master their music, master their instruments. Whether musicians work alone or collaborate, I want music that people can play whatever the venue & audience. I've dedicated this blog to promoting artists like Shovels & Rope. Give them a listen!