Published Aug 13, 2014On August 26, Charleston, SC's raucous folk duo Shovels & Rope will drop their third record, the instructively titled Swimmin' Time on Dine Alone Records. Even on first listen, it's easy to notice that almost every song on the album has something to say about water. There are floods, storms, rivers and bridges all over the place, making it hard to miss the connection with the nautical title.
"I should start grading people on their ideas about water on this record," Shovels & Rope's Cary Ann Hearst tells Exclaim! "I'd give you an A. The idea that water's something you need but it will kill you? That's what it is, I think. An A-plus."
Swimmin' Time follows 2012's O' Be Joyful, an album recorded at home, in hotel rooms, in their van and throughout their travels, but the new album was recorded exclusively at the duo's Charleston home studio with the band's Michael Trent once again producing. According to the album announcement, Swimmin' Time "features 13 new songs that maintain the elemental Shovels & Rope songwriting and sound while incorporating new ingredients to the mix."
But why the focus on water, in particular? The intriguing answer: climate change.
"We live in an estuary," Hearst explains, "and we think about water all day long. We talk about the tides pretty much once or twice every day. But I think the real thing is that where we live is one of those places that isn't even on those maps that predict what'll happen with global warming. It's just gone. Underwater. So, yes, good and bad water is essential to our thinking. All the time."
While the album still doesn't arrive until the end of the month, Shovels & Rope already have a pile of North American dates lined up, including a Toronto show on September 30. You can see all the stops here.
Read more about Shovels & Ropes' new album here.