Amanda Shires, ‘Carrying Lightning’ (101 Distribution)
“When you need a train, it never comes,” Amanda Shires sighs on her third album, and the punch line is that she’s tied to the tracks. Shires might be a pretty-voiced cowgirl fiddler, but she’s also from Lubbock, Texas — Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore country — a place where surreal fatalism flows in the water. Last seen backing up Gwyneth Paltrow in Country Strong, Shires sings more like an earthbound Emmylou Harris. She composes folksy, matter-of-fact shuffles about love’s downside, then comes back for more.