Amanda Shires at Musica
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On Thursday, Sept. 15, Musica hosted Texan singer, songwriter, and musician Amanda Shires and her country western band. An intimate crowd of fifty people paid the reasonable price of $18 to watch the performance.
Opening for Amanda Shires was Ruston Kelly, a Nashville, Tennessee artist whose songwriting style was a blend of country, rock, indie, and alternative. Ruston, playing guitar, opened with songs ranging in topic from copious alcohol consumption to the heartache of a relationship gone wrong. Audience members displayed their appreciation for Rushton’s music by purchasing him beverages.
After a brief intermission, Amanda and her four piece band took the stage to promote and play songs from their newest album, “My Piece of Land.” Amanda plugged into her five-string electric fiddle and proceeded to entice the crowd with her Texan voice, whimsical lyrics, and energetic songwriting. The style of music was an inviting mixture of country-western, folk, indie, with hints of rock. On occasion, she would hang up the fiddle to pick a four-string Gibson tenor guitar.
Shires recounted having passed through Akron three years earlier to open for a different act. She smiled as audience members remembered her performance and took the time to see her again. Amanda has written and performed songs with her husband Jason Isbell, but said that her new album came from a deeply individual and personal place.
Shires said the song structure can come from anything; a chord progression, a riff, some clean notes, or perhaps a lyric. For her, however, the overwhelming theme of the music itself was anxiety.
Shires stated her pregnancy and sense of helplessness drove many of the songs of the new album. Others came from her experiences touring and playing in front of crowds. One particular song detailed the mysterious powers bestowed from a Siberian Tiger claw, received from an individual who Shires said was “certainly a hippie.”
After the show, Shires made her way into the crowd to sign autographs, pose for group photos, and to meet and greet all her fans. Her bandmates complimented her songwriting and expressed their enjoyment at being able to tour and play music with her.
“My Piece of Land” would not be released until the following day, but audience members had the opportunity to acquire it at the show on vinyl or CD. With the album release, Shires has a hectic tour schedule with dates running all the way into December. Akron students looking to listen to her music can find her on Spotify.