Amanda Shires Proves Heir To Waits, Parton, Faulkner With ‘Carrying Lightning’

amanda shires
Amanda Shires

Amanda Shires is a singer/songwriter/fiddler blessed with a singular, literate songwriting style and a crystalline, distinct voice that hints at her Lubbock, TX, roots. Much like Neko Case’s ‘Blacklisted’ and Lucinda Williams’ “Happy Woman Blues,” her new album ‘Carrying Lightning,’ out May 3 on Silver Knife Records, is the work of an artist gaining control of her considerable talents and funneling them into a cohesive whole. From playing fiddle in the Texas Playboys at the precocious age of 15 to playing with Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Country Strong’ just this year, Shires displays the kind of talent that has garnered her praise from artists like Justin Townes Earle, DeVotchKa and Jason Isbell (who she’s sitting in with at SXSW).

Watch Shires’ intimate, mesmerizing video for “When You Need a Train It Never Comes” here:

Shires began playing fiddle at ten-years-old in Texas. She now resides in Nashville, where her songwriting has blossomed. Texas Music magazine says Shires “sounds like a writer with hundreds of songs and decades of seasoning under her belt,” and the Oxford American says she “writes her songs with as much attention to melodic sophistication as deft lyricism.”

Americana UK goes as far as to proclaim “at times her energetic, jittery vocals and eccentric lyrical subjects mark her out as a young female heir to the godfather of strange, Mr. Tom Waits. In her more conventional moments Shires sounds like the weird young niece of Dolly Parton.” Such lofty comparisons are justified after one listen to the graceful charge of “Ghostbird” and the haunting, propulsive “When You Need a Train It Never Comes.”

Shires will perform at SXSW, playing solo shows as well as sitting in with Jason Isbell at his performances.

Amanda Shires SXSW schedule (* denotes solo shows, # denotes shows with Jason Isbell):
– Wed., March 16, 6pm, G&S Lounge Outdoors, 2420 S. 1st St. (Unofficial Showcase)*
– Thurs., March 17, 11pm, Thirty Tigers Showcase at Swan Dive, 615 Red River St.#
– Sat., March 19, 2:30pm, Amelia’s Vintage Store, 2213 S. 1st St. (Unofficial Showcase)*
– Sat., March 19, 9pm, Creekside at Hilton Garden Inn, 500 N. IH-35 (Official Showcase)*

For a full list of Amanda Shires tour dates, go to: