Scott Robinson and Dan Herrington founded Dualtone Records in 2001 (Paul Roper later joined, working his way up from intern to CEO and Partner). The label, which boasts more than 300 record releases, four Grammy Award wins, and numerous Americana Music Association nods, has endured more than most—from erratic shifts in the music-making model to a devastating tornado and a global pandemic—and survived, blossoming to even greater excellence. With the upcoming 20th anniversary, the label has compiled together a commemorative set called Amerikinda: 20 Years of Dualtone, featuring its impressive roster of clients, including The Lumineers, Hayes Carll, and Gregory Alan Isakov.
Today (July 13), Shakey Graves and Shovels & Rope get in on the celebration with two new songs—a cover of The Wild Reeds’ “Cheers” and a cover of Shakey Graves’ “Dearly Departed,” respectively. “A lot of my journey as a musician has been purposeful tail chasing, tone hunting, and experimentation,” Shakey Graves tells American Songwriter. “Through all the strange moments, Dualtone has always had my back and helped me take brave steps into the future. Good people go a long way. Congrats on 20 years, and here’s to 20 more.”
Shakey Graves first inked a deal with Dualtone Records for the release of his 2014 studio album, And the War Came. He has since released four EPs, a 2018 record called Can’t Wake Up, and a re-release of his debut LP, Roll the Bones, under the label.
With his cover of The Wild Reeds’ “Cheers,” he’ll always remember the 2019 tour in support of the indie-folk band’s record of the same name. “[They] are a truly righteous group, wonderful folks with insane talent. I’ll always remember hearing ‘Cheers.’ We were on tour together right before their record of the same name came out. After a show we got to preview some of the unreleased tracks and my jaw was on the floor the whole time. I’m a sucker for melody, and I jumped at the opportunity to get to sing some of their music into my own microphone.”
Shovels & Rope signed with Dualtone in 2012 for the release of their second album, O’ Be Joyful, laying the foundation for an impressive career spanning six additional records, including standouts Swimmin’ Time (2014) and Little Seeds (2016). “From our first meeting until now has been just over ten years we’ve been working with Dualtone. Every step of the way they have repeatedly demonstrated their passion, dedication, and genuine enthusiasm for our music and career,” musicians Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst share. “In a constantly evolving music business, they have managed to survive and thrive at a time when many of their peers have not. They are truly wonderful people with big hearts and a compassionate view of the world and the industry. We are partners in business, but also consider them our dear friends.”
Shakey Graves’ “Dearly Departed” in two, Hearst and Trent carve out an expertly visceral, moving performance. “Shakey has been a dear pal to us for many years now and we have a lot of really sweet history with him. We did our first headlining tour with him. We’ve been to Australia together,” add Trent and Hearst. “He has been a true friend and provided us support and encouragement when we had our kids. He’s as lovely and genuine as you think he is. We wanted to cover his song to return some of that love and reach thru the heaviness of this pandemic and give him an audible hug.”
Amerikinda: 20 Years of Dualtone arrives August 6. Pre-order here.