Eight Gigs: Shovels & Rope

Thurs., July 2, 7 p.m., Ace of Spades, $20

Husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst form South Carolina's folk duo Shovels & Rope. Where many bands have failed before, Shovels & Rope artfully blends folk sound with punk sensibilities. The characters and stories in the ditties dolled out by the duo are both tragic and memorable—such as the titular love-struck and battle-scarred veteran and his lover in “Mary Ann & One Eyed Dan.” The melancholy subject matter in the group's repertoire—especially in its latest album, 2014's Swimmin' Time—might be missed by your ear, because its tunes and time signatures could fit right in at a hoedown. 1417 R Street, www.shovelsandrope.com.