Amanda Shires at the Top Hat for a fresh take on country music

Amanda Shire plays at the Top Hat in a sold out show. (William Munoz/Missoula Current)

Growing up in West Texas, and at an early age, Amanda Shires was immersed in the Western swing tradition that Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys pioneered. After getting a fiddle at age 10, taking lessons in Lubbock, she eventually was invited to play with the Texas Playboys at age 15.

Shires’ songs are story telling at country’s best. Her voice is reminisent of Dolly Parton, singing lyrics that are down to earth. She is helping move country music in directions that are creative and fresh while bringing the memory of Patsy Cline into the 21st century.

“Maybe it’s the quiver in her voice or the poetry in her spare writing, but there’s a magnetic pull that draws fans into the songs and stories of Amanda Shires.” NPR reported. “The Union Pacific is due for a visit, and believe me I’ve got a plan, but the plan’s no good without the train, and when you need a train it never comes.”.

In 2016, Shires had the idea to form an all female ‘super’ group reminiscent of the Highwaymen of Waylon Jennigns, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.

Bringing together Brandi Carlile, Natale Hemby and Maren Morris, the Highwaywomen was formed and began performing in 2019.

The near sold out crowd at the Top Hat performance was given everything Shires is best at including her choice to bring husband Jason Isbell on tour to play the lead guitar and provide background vocals.