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Carrying Lightning

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iTunes Review

The familiar becomes something strange and magical on Amanda Shires’ Carrying Lightning. Though this Lubbock, Texas-born singer/songwriter might be termed alt-country in approach, her dreamy, closely observed lyrics and fluent fiddle-playing elevate her above typical artists in this genre. Shires possesses a husky voice tinged with a pronounced vibrato; her singing suggests wistful emotion and childlike wonder. Sweetly poignant tunes like “Ghost Bird” and “Lovesick I Remain” are balanced by more angst-filled expressions like “Shake the Walls” or “When You Need a Train It Never Comes.” There are moments here (particularly “Bees In the Shed”) that bring to mind the scruffy quirkiness of Tom Waits. Carrying Lightning manages to maintain an affectionate tone without becoming precious or cloying — tasty musical touches (like the small string ensemble on “Kudzu”) help keep things both warm and interesting. Call her a Lone Star eccentric or a poet with a mean bow arm, Shires proves herself a compelling talent on this visionary song collection.

Customer Reviews

Amanda Shires is the next big thing!

I can't believe no one has written a review of this album. CARRYING LIGHTNING is one the best albums of 2011 and should be in the collection of any Americana fan. TEXAS MUSIC MAGAZINE called her the new Lucinda Williams, and said that CARRYING LIGHTNING is her CAR WHEELS . . . they aren't far wrong. This is a fantastic album from an up-and-coming singer-songwriter that has a unique voice; equal parts Dolly Parton, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Patsy Cline. Yeah, she's that good.


I saw her at the Grand Ole Opry. She was AMAZING in person. I can't wait to hear her next album!!!

Big voice from a small body

Saw her live last week at Grand Ole Opry, she was very good. She was nervous, and she did well. Big and unique voice. I hope she keeps writing and singing.


Born: March 5, 1982 in Lubbock, TX

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Texas-born violinist and singer/songwriter Amanda Shires makes heartfelt country- and folk-influenced music as both a solo artist and as member of her husband Jason Isbell's band the 400 Unit. A native of Lubbock, Texas, Shires began playing violin around age 10, and by her teens was performing with former Bob Wills backing ensemble the Texas Playboys. She released her debut solo album, Being Brave, in 2005. After relocating to Nashville, Shires returned with both West Cross Timbers and Sew Your...
Full Bio