Shovels & Rope’s Swimmin’ Time has already garnered critical success and TV face time, so why haven’t you bought it yet? If you need a little hometown push, here are three reasons why every Charlestonian should be listening to this record. Right now. Right this second.
1. A Song For The Season
While the entire recording of Swimmin’ Time is a triumph, “After The Storm” may be the stand out, timely track for Charlestonians. The reason being, I am convinced that oyster season coincides with a rainy season. We are in for a good, long haul of grey Sunday mornings, which means at some point you’re going to need this song. You might find yourself in an indie movie love story, watching a car back out of the drive, or curled up on a couch with questions, only to get your mother’s voicemail on the other end of line, and when that happens, this song will be there. It runs just shy of six and a half minutes; though it feels like three, and Carry Ann and Michael’s outstretching vocals make you wish it would last for ten.
2. Shameless Hometown Plugs
Sandwiched in the middle of Swimmin’ Time is the foot-stomping, “Stono River Blues.” Not only does the song’s namesake immediately give a hometown shout-out, but also mentioned is the Ashley, the Edisto, Wadmalaw, shrimping, and a warning to not “get caught in the mud when the tide gets low.” It is a gritty number that reads with characters that you might find in a Ron Rash novel, not to mention an unapologetic electric guitar solo.
3. Our Unholy Holy City
Charleston is full of vices and frankly, plenty of delusion. “Coping Mechanism” is a song of hangover epiphany: whether you are outgrowing your fraternity letters or realizing that happiness does not lie at the bottom of a bottle or a new pack of cigarettes. As S&R puts it, “There ain’t nothing like the real thing / The kind of chemical that will make your whole body sing.” Upbeat and punchy, it is also ironically a great drinking song.
Photos from the Shovels & Rope site