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Amanda Shires - Carrying Lightning (Silver Knife)

Star rating: 
4

There's something rather appealing about any album that starts with a merrily whistled chorus; it's almost as if we are immediately looking on the bright side of life. Swimmer is just one from a developing repertoire of instantly accessible songs from the pen of this native Texan, who has now relocated to the songwriting capitol of Nashville in order to further develop her craft. Although Amanda Shires is known for her fiddle playing rather than her whistling skills, there's also this steadily growing confidence in songwriting to consider, which is beginning to show great signs of potential.   

With this second solo album following hot on the tail of her 2009 debut WEST COAST TIMBERS, which in turn following her duo album with Rod Picott SEW YOUR HEART WITH WIRES from the same year, Amanda keeps to accessible melodies, whilst further investigating her penchant for writing ambiguous lyrics. Once heard, those melodies appear to stick in the conscience, whilst the actual meaning of the songs often remains unclear. With the one cover song, Barbara Keith's Detroit or Buffalo, the remaining eleven self-penned songs include the outstanding Ghostbird, which should in a perfect world be an FM hit and the delicately beautiful Sloe Gin.

Not only gaining a reputation as a fine musician and songwriter, Amanda has also made her presence felt visually, appearing next to Gwyneth Paltrow in the film Country Strong, whilst also sidling up against Justin Townes Earle on the cover of his debut album.

Joined once again by a stable of fine musicians including Rod Picott, Chris Scruggs, David Henry and Neal Casal, CARRYING LIGHNING serves as a fine example of Amanda Shires' growing reputation on the alt-country/Americana scene. 

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky