Busted Jukebox, Vol. 1
Reviewed by: Jane Roser
“Taa daa! Surprise, ladies and gentlemen! We made you something! It is a collection of others peoples really good songs as we have interpreted them, featuring collaborations with some of our favorite artists! You can use it for your upcoming mix-tapes.”
Three days ago, folk-rock duo Shovels & Rope (Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent) announced in true quirky form (mix-tapes!) that they’re releasing an album of ten cover songs on November 20th…it is awesome. Featuring an eclectic collection of songs by Elvis Costello, Nine Inch Nails, The Kinks and Lou Reed, Hearst and Trent brought in friends such as Shakey Graves, Butch Walker and The Milk Carton Kids to help them bring this series to life and the result is magnificent.
“Bullet Belt”, co-written in 2011 by Trent and Butch Walker (and featuring Walker on this recording) is a passionate, bad ass tune with smokey harmonies that sound like they’re balancing on the edge of a knife. On a day off in Charleston (where Shovels & Rope are based), Walker rode his motorcycle over to their home studio to cut vocals for their reinterpretation of this song, then they all spent the rest of the day hanging out at the beach.
“Nothing Takes The Place Of You” by R&B singer Toussaint McCall is a personal favorite of Hearst’s who sings it at sound check often. Singer-songwriter JD McPherson takes the lead vocals on this song which just drips with the blues and features piano, slide guitar and a whole lot of nostalgia.
Nine Inch Nail’s “Last” featuring Caroline Rose is turned into a “psychobilly hoedown from hell” and Emmylou Harris’ “Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight” came about after Shovels & Rope performed at an Emmylou Harris tribute show this past January where they arranged a swampy version of this song. It was so well received, they decided to include it on the album, just the two of them performing bare bones. It’s the perfect bookend to an album with a fine collection of tunes that, like a good pair of Chuck Taylors, never goes out of style and are so cozy, you can’t wait to slip them on.