Origins is a recurring new music feature which challenges artists to dig into the influences that gave them inspiration for their newest song.
Next month, Americana duo Shovels & Rope are set to return with their new album, By Blood. Due out April 12th via Dualtone Music, the follow-up to 2016’s Little Seeds finds the binds between husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst stronger than ever. With a new studio built in their own backyard and adding a second child to their clan, the fortitude of their family artistry comes through in fresh and powerful ways.
That visceral drive for co-survival is addressed right on the record’s opening track, “I’m Comin’ Out”. With a stomp that seems cheery in the face of trudging through life’s muck, Hearst and Trent gird themselves for any inevitable tests of will. “It’s fight or flight in the springtime,” they sing. “I got the taste of blood in my mouth/ Metamorphosis, what a test is this.”
Take a listen below.
For more on what went into “I’m Comin’ Out”, Shovels & Rope have shared the track’s Origins. Read those below, and snag some more of the group’s music on vinyl here.
We were newly pregnant and imagining what it is like to be born, naked and vulnerable. Are babies in the womb wondering what’s on the other side of the warm red wall of its mother’s body? No matter what circumstances into which we are born, we all emerge screaming and kicking, armed with nothing but the innate human drive to live propelling us into the arms of our caretakers. We pictured the infant working up the courage to emerge.
We literally saw a new born deer lying down in a panic in the middle of the road. We waited a few seconds and it stood up carefully and scampered away, but it was so new and so vulnerable in the moment that it just didn’t know what to do. It got its bearings though, its mother was probably across the street, saying encouraging deer words.
Man as Animal:
It seems like people forget that humans are animals, but we are as savage an animal as there is. We as a species are as vicious and invasive as any creature that has ever been. It’s as if our divine selves (or perhaps alien DNA) is always fighting against our human animal DNA for control over the human condition. At the end of the day most of our decisions are based on fight or flight reflexes. We loved the idea that we are all born, literally, with the “taste of blood in our mouths.”
The caterpillar is a humble creature, a glorified worm, that eats and travels until it’s compelled to seal itself off in a cocoon, emerging completely transformed. This seemed like the perfect allegory for any human’s experience of self-realization – breaking thru a depression, redefining yourself after a loss, coming to terms with change or the finding of new inner strength. The phrase “ to come out” in our culture is usually associated with coming to public terms with one’s sexuality — and the butterfly allegory carries over beautifully, its wings symbolizing, perhaps, a rainbow flag flowing colorfully in the breeze. We often dedicate this song, in honor of their journey, to our LGBTQ friends, fans and family but this song is about finding your inner magic and motivation – wherever that leads.
Instruments in the Studio:
This song was one of the few that was born in the studio and not on the road. It was also one that that practically wrote itself. It was as if the lyrics were handed over by whisper from another dimension and all we had to do was write it down. The studio we built has provided an exclusive work space where the tools to ply songs out of the ether are always at hand. We have learned that we have to give ourselves the space and time to hear the music in our heads — especially since that space is usually now occupied by the sound of our children expressing their needs.
There is something very cool about showing up to battle naked – aren’t there accounts of Julius Caesar fighting naked? Gauls and Celts, who were covered in fierce tattoos. In this song “your best suit” refers to the suit you’re born with, but we also liked the idea of showing up looking really dapper in something expensive ready to be soaked in blood and guts in battle — like who cares, imma look good while I slay my fears.
Shovels & Rope will be on the road all summer supporting By Blood. Find their schedule below and get tickets here.
Shovels & Rope 2019 Tour Dates:
04/13-14 – North Charleston, SC @ High Water Festival
05/24 – Axton, VA @ Rooster Walk Festival
06/15 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
06/28 – Jacksonville, FL @ Daily’s Place Amphitheater *
06/29 – Boca Raton, FL @ Mizner Park Amphitheater *
06/30 – St. Petersburg, FL @ Al Lang Stadium *
07/3 – Orange Beach, AL @ Wharf Amphitheater *
07/5 – Charleston, SC @ Volvo Car Stadium *
07/6 – Simpsonville, SC @ Heritage Park Amphitheatre *
07/7 – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion *
07/9 – Raleigh, NC @ Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek *
07/12 – Marshfield, MA @ Levitate Music Festival
07/13 – Gilford, NH @ Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion *
07/14 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center *
07/16 – Canandaigua, NY @ Constellation Brands – Marvin Sands PAC *
07/19 – Cincinnati, OH @ PNC Pavilion *
07/20 – Huber Heights, OH @ Rose Music Center at The Heights *
07/23 – Rochester Hills, MI @ Meadow Brook Amphitheatre *
07/24 – Indianapolis, IN @ Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park *
07/26 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre *
07/27 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre *
07/30 – St. Louis, MO @ The Fox Theatre *
07/31 – Brandon, MS @ Brandon Amphitheater *
08/02 – Atlanta, GA @ The Fox Theatre *
08/03 – Atlanta, GA @ The Fox Theatre *
09/27 – St. Augustine, FL @ Sing Out Loud Festival
11/11-14 – Punta Cana, DR @ All The Best Festival
* = w/ Tedeschi Trucks Band