I can’t say I was familiar with Amanda Shires when I went to this show. I was kindly given a free ticket and since it was at the venue where I saw Matt The Electrician and Shovels & Rope, it seemed worth a try.
Well worth it.
The basement venue was packed and the crowd was rewarded with a spell-binding split set. The banter alone would have been entertaining enough; Amanda has an endearing story-telling approach, like a down-home Emmy The Great.
Amanda’s personality shone through in the music too. Southern themes, a deft turn of phrase, crystal clear vocals and accomplished playing, together with Jason Isbell on acoustic guitar and Stephanie Dickinson on upright bass. The hardcore fans seemed to have wanted a little more fiddle, a little more ‘country,’ but I appreciated the emphasis on “dark, deceptively pretty songs” [Will Hermes, American Songwriter].
Amanda Shires is currently on tour in Ireland followed by a summer of shows in the United States: http://amandashiresmusic.com/tour/
Here are a few of my photos – check out my Flickr page for the full set: