Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Amanda Shires Sweetly Shines

It is so hard to get heard over the din of an ever-expanding media maze of itunes, video games, facebook, twitter, radio, TV, commercials, movies, concerts and clouds - what's a girl to do? If you're Amanda Shires, you do it yourself. Although a veteran of tours and recording projects with such alt country luminaries like Jason Isbell, Justin Townes Earle, Billy Joe Shaver, Shires is just beginning to get noticed for her burgeoning solo career.

As evidenced by an early set (8:00 sharp start!) tonight at Philly's Grape Room, Amanda Shires is a nimble fiddler who packs a wallop in her tiny frame. Taking the stage as a duo with Nashville songwriter Rod Picott on acoustic guitar, she thrilled a couple of dozen patrons with her hushed, melancholy Texas twang that recalled a less craggy Lucinda Williams with the emotional purity of prime Nanci Griffith.

With a set chock full of strong originals like the missed opportunity lament "When You Need A Train It Never Comes" and the whistling, banjo flecked lover's longing glaze of "Swimmer...", her stark, elegiac take on fellow Lubbock-ite Butch Hancock's "If You Were a Bluebird" felt like one of her own.

Amanda Shires latest album, Carrying Lightning, is a top-notch singer-songwriter album, and is available at amazon and itunes. You can check her out on tour here, and those lucky campers at the Philadelphia Folk Festival will get an earful (and eyeful) at the Wednesday night Campers Only show in August.

Amanda Shires - "When You Need A Train It Never Comes"

Amanda Shires - "Swimmer...."

An added bonus, check out this superb take of "If You Were A Bluebird" from a recent radio show:

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