“I think everything starts with the autobiographical,” singer-songwriter Amanda Shires told the Wall Street Journal last year, “and I start developing it into a little short story and then the character takes on a life of its own and you just follow it.” Shires’ stories are pulled from a wide range of experiences, both personal and professional. The Lubbock native has played music most of her life, first joining the Texas Playboys (as in Bob Wills’ old outfit) at age fifteen before moving on to the alt-country band Thrift Store Cowboys. Throughout, she’s lent her plaintive voice and fiddle playing, two hallmarks to a career that’s just starting to take flight.
Last year, Shires released album number five, Down Fell The Doves, and it was a personal and critical smash. The Washington Post called her songs “twisted fairy tales for adults,” which is not too far off the mark. The darkness at the heart of Doves came from a trifecta of heartbreak: a soured relationship, a broken finger, and the destruction of her fiddle, which Shires had played for fifteen years. But amidst the heartbreak came some triumph: touring the world and getting married to longtime guitarist (and fellow songwriter) Jason Isbell. Late last year, the pair paid Studio 1A a visit to sing songs from Doves, and they concluded the live performance with a heartfelt rendition of Warren Zevon’s “Mutineer”–today’s song of the day.
Catch Amanda Shires tomorrow night at the Cactus Cafe.