Birmingham - Shovels & Rope

from the album O' Be Joyful (2012)

Over the years, I have had many friends who play for indie labels or travel around promoting self-released recordings.  I have the utmost respect for anybody who chooses this hard road.  They haul their gear from town to town, set it up, tear it down.  And, all too often, there is not enough money to go around.  You can help their cause by getting out of your lazy chair and checking out their gigs.  You will be better for it.

Birmingham is a travelogue about two wandering minstrels who find clarity and direction under difficult circumstances.  The song also gives some insight on this band's curious name with the final verse:

When the road got tough and the wheels all broke
Couldn't take more than we could tow
Making something out of nothing with a scratcher and our hope
With two old guitars like a shovel and a rope

This song hits me like a rebel yell.  Every time I listen, something different grabs me.  The songwriting, the lead vocal, the drumming, the shouted harmonies.  I also love how you feel the spirit of the American South in every note.  There is no finer representation of two people picking up instruments and making music in a southern style.

Click Here to get the full story of this song from the band's blog.  It will give you great insight into the song and how the they got started in Birmingham with $100 and a van.  I dig it.

Click Here for a live performance in Seattle.  Be sure to note the drumming technique.

Click Here for a live version recorded in a Minnesota radio station.