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      Amanda Shires in Washington

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      August 17, 2019

      Saturday   8:00 PM

      600 14th St NW
      Washington, District of Columbia 20005

      Amanda Shires

      with Scott Kurt
      Amanda Shires - To The SunsetIts all rock & roll no golf! is how singer/songwriter/violinist Amanda Shires describes her electrifying fifth album, To The Sunset. Shes borrowed a lyric from the track Break Out the Champagne, one of ten deftly crafted songs that comprise her powerful new recording. The Texas-born road warrior, new mom, and recently minted MFA in creative writing has mined a range of musical influences to reveal an Amanda Shires many didnt know existed. Isnt it refreshing? Shires asks. Indeed. Distorted electric guitars, effects pedals, swirling keys and synths, and rockin rhythms certainly suit Shires visceral songcraft and lilting soprano. Its been a jam-packed since the release of Shires critically hailed My Piece of Land: constant touring with her band and as a member of husband Jason Isbells 400 Unit; finishing her MFA; and winning the Americana Associations 2017 Emerging Artist award. Armed with stacks of journals, she wrote a batch of new songs in a flurry of focus and solitude in a closet at the Shires/Isbell abode. With a two-year-old running around, theres nowhere to hide, Shires explains. While Isbell watched their daughter, she wrote all night: I just started writing and tearing apart my journals and taping the parts I liked to the wall, and shredding the rest and putting it into my compost, which I then feed to my garden. She reconvened with Lands producer Dave Cobb (Isbell; Sturgill Simpson) at Nashvilles historic RCA Studio A. While writing such stunners as the enchanting Parking Lot Pirouette, haunting Charms, and raucous Eves Daughter, she thought about their sonics. I explained to Dave that I wanted the songs to have atmosphere, Shires recalls. That the album was going to be sort of poppy, and that I was doing that to bring some sunshine into the world, cause its pretty dark right now. As she sings in Take on the Dark, buoyed by bouncy bass, machine-gun drumming, and swirling synth: Worry can be a tumbling tumultuous sea/with all its roaring and its breaking/How bout you be the waves/too unafraid to even be brave/and see yourself breaking out of this place. Shires is renowned for her carefully crafted songs. Her influences include Leonard Cohen and John Prine, the latter of whom has been a mentor. I was talking to John Prine while I was writing this record, says Shires, and he was talking about how using images that actually happened to you makes the songs true. Also, if you use images that you can see daily, its more relatable. Shires took his advice in such tracks as Break Out the Champagne. Its all true! says the resilient Shires. The near-plane crash over Newfoundland, her BFF Kellys fears about our apocalyptic times, another friends heavy breakup. To The Sunset, says Shires, is meant to be a positive thing. Acknowledging your past, and at sunset, your hope for a new day. To The Sunset sounds like a toast: This day is over, we dont know whats in the future, but its hopeful, I think. Shires has drawn from her own past on To The Sunset and pointed the way to her future. She has set the bar high sonically and lyrically and shes jumped over it.

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