Amanda Shires – My Piece of Land (2016)

amanda-shires-piece-of-landAmanda Shires is to confessional folk/country what a puffer fish is to foodies; an irresistible delicacy that is so unsafe only chefs with 3+ years of rigorous training are allowed to prepare it.

Shires started training on the road at age 15 with Texas Playboys, and under John Prine, Ryan Adams and future husband Jason Isbell learned to use her natural gifts judiciously. Her voice is soft and sweet, her violin slow and soulful, and she writes with a rare precision honed by formal study of poetry. Most songwriters study their peers, hence cliche and contrived rhymes.

But danger lurks nearby. She’s no longer singing about taking boxcutters to the bath or lying on railroad tracks, and life with a now-sober Isbell is good; they have a baby and are buying their piece of land. But it’s also scary. What if he slips out on the road? What if his head is turned? She knows what it’s like to want to give up on life, she writes, to want so much to run away.