Concert Reviews

Shovels and Rope Bring Denver Roots, Southern Soul to the Ogden

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"I think they're originally from Boulder," one woman was overheard saying.

"Michael is from Littleton, he used to work at Soiled Dove," someone told me as I jotted down notes in my notepad.

While the "Colorado sound" is still up for countless discussions, Shovels and Rope possess a sound that is rooted in the South. Their latest, Swimmin' Time, released in August, stomps and claps it's way through the rowdy, yet beautiful sing alongs about drinking, salvation and fishing holes, that are firmly rooted in Appalachia.

Before Shovels and Rope performed, singer/songwriter and clawhammer banjoist Willie Watson, formerly of Old Crow Medicine show, took the stage. Decked out in a three-gallon cowboy hat and wiry in frame, Watson was a near dead ringer for Hank Williams. His nasally vibrato also conjured up William's spirit and one wondered if his music began in the deep south as well. Watson, who now resides in California is originally from Watkins Glen, New York. So much for that theory.

Regardless, he showed great proficiency on both guitar and banjo and sang songs that were memorable and well crafted.

After Watson's set, Shovels and Rope unassumingly walked on stage to a massive ovation. Trent donned a drab jacket and slacks while Hearst was dressed in an elaborate leather outfit with long, stringy fringes.

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Andy Thomas is a music journalist who hopes other music journalists write nice things about the music he performs. He lives in Denver with his wife, their two cats and a massive pile of unfinished projects.
Contact: Andy Thomas