Amanda Shires

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Amanda Shires
Amanda Shires 2016.jpg
Amanda Shires performing in November 2016
Background information
Birth nameAmanda Shires
Born (1982-03-05) March 5, 1982 (age 38)
Origin Lubbock, Texas, U.S.
Genres Americana, Folk, Alternative Country, Country Folk
InstrumentsVocals, fiddle, ukulele, tenor guitar
Years active1997–present
Associated acts

Amanda Shires (born March 5, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter and fiddle player. Shires has released six solo albums, her most recent To the Sunset on the Silver Knife label in 2018. In 2019, she founded a country music supergroup called The Highwomen alongside Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris and Natalie Hemby. 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. Along with Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Shires won the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album for their 2017 album The Nashville Sound . [1] [2]


Early life

Following her parents' divorce, Shires' childhood was divided between the Texas cities of Lubbock and Mineral Wells. [3] Her mother is a retired nurse. She also used to be a barrel racer at rodeos. [4] Her father owns a wholesale nursery in Mineral Wells and has a hobby of gold prospecting in Alaska. [4] She is distantly related to noted photographer Erica Shires, who produced the video for the song "Swimmer". [5]

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. [4] [6] 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. [4] [6] [7] 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. [8] When she was 12, she started taking fiddle lessons in Lubbock from Lanny Fiel, who knew Frankie McCourter from the Texas Playboys. [9] She then started learning fiddle from McCourter and was later invited to play at the band's shows. [9] At the age of 15, she joined the Texas Playboys, the former backing band for Western swing legend Bob Wills. [10]

Musical career

Shires released her first solo album, the mostly instrumental Being Brave, in 2005. Four years later, having relocated to Nashville, [10] 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.

She toured extensively with Picott from 2006. [11] She has also performed and recorded with Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Devotchka, Chris Isaak, Thrift Store Cowboys, Todd Snider, and Justin Townes Earle. [12]

In 2011 she appeared in the movie Country Strong as one of the musicians backing singer Kelly Canter, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. [13]

In 2011, Shires began attending Sewanee: The University of the South, a small liberal arts university in Sewanee, Tennessee. [14] She graduated with a Master's of Fine Arts in Poetry in 2017. [15] [16] [17]

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 [18] 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. [19] 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. [20] To The Sunset was released on August 3, 2018.

In 2019, Shires formed the 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. [21]

Musical style

David Menconi of the magazine Spin said that Shires "sings [...] like an earthbound Emmylou Harris", [13] and her vocals have been likened to those of Dolly Parton. [22] [23] The imagery in her songwriting has been compared to that of Tom Waits. [3] [23] Although her principal instrument is the fiddle, she also plays the ukulele. [23]

Personal life

Shires began dating fellow musician Jason Isbell in 2011. The couple married on February 23, 2013 [24] and had their first child, Mercy Rose, [25] on September 1, 2015. [26] [27]



With the Highwomen

With Jason Isbell or Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

Other appearances

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryNominated WorkResult
2017 Americana Music Honors & Awards Emerging Artist of the Year[ citation needed ]Amanda ShiresWon
2018 Grammy Awards [1] Best Americana Album [1] The Nashville Sound [1] Won
UK Americana Awards International Album of the Year[ citation needed ]Won
2018 Americana Music Honors & Awards Duo/Group of the Year [ citation needed ]Jason Isbell & the 400 UnitWon
2019Album of the Year[ citation needed ]To the SunsetNominated
2020 Academy of Country Music Awards Group of the YearThe HighwomenNominated
CMT Awards Group Video of the Year"Crowded Table"Pending

The song "When you Need a Train It Never Comes" from Carrying Lightning was ranked the fifth best song of 2011 by American Songwriter. [29]

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