Michael Trent may not be a household name, but he is one of the most incisive and poignant lyricists on the contemporary music scene. He has recently found success with his most recent band, Shovels & Rope. Their albums Swimmin’ Time (2014) and O’ Be Joyful (2012) blend rock n’ roll and americana with an exciting rawness and lyrical wit.
“Evil” – Shovels & Rope Swimmin’ Time
“Coping Mechanism” – Shovels & Rope Swimmin’ Time
“Cavalier” – Shovels & Rope O’ Be Joyful
Before Shovels & Rope, Trent recorded with his band the Films and as a solo artist. He is the lead singer, but Carry Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope can be heard singing harmony on some of these recordings as well. The Films made two albums Don’t Dance Rattlesnake and Oh, Scorpio. Don’t Dance Rattlesnake is a fuzzy, raw, and sarcastic rock n’ roll record; Oh, Scorpio draws heavily on retro, sixties sounds. Trent’s playful, sardonic lyrics match the infectious energy of a sweaty rock n’ roll band.
His solo records are filled with the same great songwriting that one finds on the Films’ records, but the production starts to lean towards americana. It is easy to hear the progression in production styles from The Films to Shovels & Rope.
“Fingernails for Breakfast”- The Films Oh, Scorpio
“Something Familiar”- The Films Oh, Scorpio
“Being Bored”- The Films Don’t Dance Rattlesnake
“Tell the Truth”- Michael Trent The Winner (2010)
“Bad Luck” – Michael Trent The Winner
In addition to Trent’s own recordings, he has been involved with artist/producer Butch Walker behind the scenes. He contributed vocals and songwriting to I Liked it Better When You Had No Heart by Butch Walker & the Black Widows. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, you can hear Trent’s influence.
“Pretty Melody” Butch Walker & the Black Widows I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart
“Don’t You Think Someone Should Take You Home” Butch Walker & the Black Widows
Michael Trent’s lyrical insight is only matched by the shocking consistency in the quality of his songwriting. Whether in Shovels & Rope, The Films, or solo, Trent is a songwriter to watch in the coming years.