Amanda Shires (born March 5, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter and fiddle player. She has performed as a member of the Texas Playboys, Thrift Store Cowboys and Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, as well as in a duo with Rod Picott. Shires has released six solo albums, her most recent To The Sunset on the Silver Knife label in 2018. In 2019, she joined a country music group called The Highwomen alongside Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris and Natalie Hemby.
Amanda Shires performing in November 2016
|Birth name||Amanda Shires|
|Born||March 5, 1982|
|Origin||Lubbock, Texas, U.S.|
|Genres||Americana, Folk, Alternative Country, Country Folk|
|Instruments||Vocals, fiddle, guitar|
At the age of 10, she happened to be with her father while he was shopping for hunting gear at a pawn shop in Mineral Wells. She saw an inexpensive Chinese-made fiddle for sale and her father agreed to buy it for her on the condition that she learn to play it. It took a while for her to play it well; she usually practiced outside because her dog had a habit of howling while she played.
When she was 12, she started taking fiddle lessons from a man named Lanny Fiel in Lubbock, who knew Frankie McCourter from the Texas Playboys. She then started learning fiddle from McCourter and was later invited to play at the band's shows. At the age of 15, she joined the Texas Playboys, the former backing band for Western swing legend Bob Wills.
Her mother works as vice president of a hospital in Lubbock, who used to be a barrel racer at rodeos. Her father owns a wholesale nursery in Mineral Wells, who has a hobby of gold prospecting in Alaska.
She is distantly related to noted photographer Erica Shires, who produced the video for the song "Swimmer".
Shires released her first solo album, the mostly instrumental Being Brave, in 2005. Four years later, having relocated to Nashville, she released West Cross Timbers and in the same year released Sew Your Heart with Wires, a collaboration with Rod Picott. Her next solo album, Carrying Lightning was released in 2011, followed by Down Fell The Doves in August 2013 and My Piece of Land in September 2016. The latter proved to be Shires' breakthrough, gaining her a nomination from the Americana Music Association.
Since 2006 she has toured extensively with Picott. She has also performed and recorded with Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Devotchka, Chris Isaak, Thrift Store Cowboys, Todd Snider, and Justin Townes Earle.
In 2011, Shires began attending Sewanee: The University of the South, a small liberal arts university in Sewanee, Tennessee. She graduated with a Master's of Fine Arts in Poetry in 2017.
In 2012, Shires was named Artist of the Year by Texas Music magazine, appearing on the publication's cover.
Shires won the Emerging Artist of the Year Award at the 2017 Americana Music Honors & Awards. In 2017, she supported John Prine on his worldwide tour alongside joining Isbell for select dates. In 2018, Shires announced that she was working on a new album, To The Sunset due for release on August 3, 2018 which, like My Piece of Land, will be produced by Dave Cobb. Isbell revealed on Twitter that Gillian Welch and David Rawlings will make a guest appearance. As a member of the 400 Unit, Shires won the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album for The Nashville Sound. Shires contributed to The Tree of Forgiveness, the 2018 album by John Prine. To The Sunset was released on August 3, 2018.
In 2019, Shires formed country group The Highwomen, along with Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, and Maren Morris. "Redesigning Women" was the first single from their self-titled debut album released on September 6, 2019.
David Menconi of the magazine Spin said that Shires "sings [...] like an earthbound Emmylou Harris", and her vocals have been likened to those of Dolly Parton. The imagery in her songwriting has been compared to that of Tom Waits. Although her principal instrument is the fiddle, she also plays the ukulele.
- Being Brave (2005)
- West Cross Timbers (2009)
- Sew Your Heart with Wires (2009, with Rod Picott)
- Carrying Lightning (2011)
- Down Fell the Doves (2013)
- Sea Songs - Single (2015, with Jason Isbell)
- My Piece of Land (2016)
- To the Sunset (2018)
With the HighwomenEdit
- The Highwomen (2019)
- Sweeten the Distance (2011) - Neal Casal
- Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now - Justin Townes Earle
- Light Fighter (songwriter/lead vocal on "Scary Weeds", "Lean into the Sway"); Lay Low While Crawling or Creeping (songwriter/lead vocal on "Sidewalk Song", "Understudy"); The Great American Desert; Nowhere with You - Thrift Store Cowboys
- Something More Than Free; Southeastern; Here We Rest - Jason Isbell
- Welding Burns - Rod Picott
- Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables - Todd Snider
- Oh Be Joyful - Shovels & Rope
- Mutt - Cory Branan
- Burn. Flicker. Die. - American Aquarium
- I Can't Love You Any Less - High Cotton: Tribute to Alabama (2013)
- For Better, or Worse - John Prine (2016)
- If I Needed You" (with Jason Isbell - Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams (2017)
- The Nashville Sound - Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
- Accomplice One - Tommy Emmanuel (2018)
- Tree of Forgiveness - John Prine (2018)
- Find a Light - Blackberry Smoke (2018)
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2017||Americana Music Honors & Awards||Emerging Artist of the Year||Amanda Shires||Won|
|2018||Grammy Awards||Best Americana Album||The Nashville Sound||Won|
|UK Americana Awards||International Album of the Year||Won|
|2018||Americana Music Honors & Awards||Duo/Group of the Year||Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit||Won|
|2019||Album of the Year||To the Sunset||Pending|
- Dansby, Andrew (May 3, 2011). "Amanda Shires makes expressive connection". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- Dougherty, Steve (August 1, 2013). "Amanda Shires: A Texas Prodigy Steps Out; She's on the Road With a New Album, Sometimes Appearing with Husband Jason Isbell". Wall Street Journal.
- Wilson, Calvin (August 15, 2004). "Amanda Shires strikes the right balance". St. Louis Post Dispatch.
- Cornell, Rick (September 2009). "Amanda Shires, September 2009". Country Standard Time. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- Thanki, Juli (September 15, 2016). "Amanda Shires celebrates new album at AmericanaFest". Tennessean.
- Burton, Tommy (August 27, 2014). "Amanda Shires: Half-Fictitious Fiddler". Jackson Free Press.
- Salamon, Jeff (May 2011). "Amanda Shires" (free registration required). Texas Monthly. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- Conway, Alanna (June 24, 2011). "Amanda Shires, 'Swimmer' – Video Premiere". Tasteofcountry.com. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
- Cooper, Peter (July 3, 2011). "Rod Picott and Amanda Shires stay in sync as touring partners, couple". The Tennessean. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- McCall, Tris (April 22, 2011). "Singer and violinist Amanda Shires to appear in Asbury Park". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- Menconi, David. "Amanda Shires, 'Carrying Lightning'". Spin. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- "No Strings Attached". Texasmonthly.com. July 15, 2013.
- "Amanda Shires: From driving her van to sleeping in her own tour bus". The Clarion Ledger.
- Levenson, Luke (September 14, 2016). "Exclusive interview with Amanda Shires". Nashvillelifestyles.com.
- "How poetry and fear influenced Amanda Shires' new album, 'To The Sunset'". Ew.com.
- Show, S. H. I. R. E. S’ $ Hit (April 19, 2018). "August 3 y'all!https://twitter.com/uproxx/status/987039389065900032 …". Twitter.com.
- Isbell, Jason (January 12, 2018). "Gillian came by to sing on the @amandashires album today and it was so good buddiespic.twitter.com/hSHQRe71wU". Twitter.com.
- "John Prine To Release His First Album Of New Songs In 13 Years". Npr.org.
- Caligiuri, Jim (November 25, 2011). "Amanda Shires - Music Review". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- "Amanda Shires, Texas Playgirl". Wall Street Journal. April 29, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
- Kerns, William (July 25, 2012). "Happily engaged Shires makes return appearance in hometown". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
- "Amanda Shires Isbell on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
- Spevak, Jeff (19 May 2015). "Jason Isbell: The craft of sadness at Water Street". Democrat & Chronicle. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- Isbell, Jason (1 September 2015). "jasonisbell on Istagram: "Today"". Instagram. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
- Mills, Fred. "AMERICAN AQUARIUM – Burn. Flicker. Die". Blurt Magazine.
- "American Songwriter's Top 50 Songs Of 2011". December 13, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2012.