Amanda Shires, 'Carrying Lightning' (101 Distribution)

Carrying Lightning
Critical Mass
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Label: 101 Distribution

by David Menconi

"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.

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