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AMANDA SHIRES


we wanted.” “Gwyneth is just beautiful; always flawless. She’s real nice. She


was real focused when it was work time, and when it wasn’t work time or for her to be ready, we just hung out and stuff, she was totally let loose. We would sing karaoke—it was cool.” However, it might seem as though Amanda Shires never gets


a minute to herself in between sessions at the recording studio, exciting collaborations and heavy touring schedules, but when she does, she prefers very down-to-earth forms of leisure: “I read a lot. I do have a favourite book—Steven Callahan’s 76 Days Lost at Sea; Endurance by Arthur Lancing and I like Mark Strand and Donald Justice, both are poets. I like listening to Waylon Jennings’ HONKY TONK HEROES (1973). I like to go to the movies…I’m terrible at painting but I like to try it; usually I just keep painting until it gets brown…If only I had more money, I’d shop way more. I like animals; I’ve been looking into volunteering at the wildlife centre. It’s hard to do when you’re never at home.” That said, Amanda seems always to be out there on the road.


With busy touring schedules averaging 120-160 dates a year, including European trips, leaving home comforts behind must be something Amanda is used to. But what is it that she misses the most when being on tour, I wonder? “Wash-rags,” she laughs. “That’s the only thing really. You know, the little ones?” I point out that in the UK, they’re known as flannels or face cloths. “Flannels?” she laughs. “That’s awesome. I’ve been having to use my hand


towel for the shower…but they’re too big!” Amanda admits she’s not someone for any pre-performance


rituals, and being the down-to-earthy type, sticks to non-ritualistic activities before any show; either going through emails, drinking red wine—something Amanda loves to do—or warming up: “I broke my finger on my left hand last July so it kinda gets stiff…so I try and do that a little bit with some violin stuff.” “In Ireland two years ago, I split my pants on stage, but it was


only because I’d been touring the UK and trying every single thing— different flavours of crisps; any kind of pie. That was probably the most embarrassing thing that could ever happen on stage. Luckily I had my coat on…I sort of leaned over and told Rod: ‘Erm…we’re gonna have to take a break whilst I figure this out.’” With a number of sell-out audiences and three stunning albums


to her name, what does the future hold for this enchanting singer- songwriter? “Well, if I’m not in my grave, maybe touring slightly less. Maybe


I’ll be able to keep a boyfriend? It’s hard to keep a boyfriend when you’re away 200 days a year. I’m gonna have a dog; I’d really like to have a dog, and a house; somewhere I can live.” Musically? “I think I’ll record in the Fall to put it out in the Spring. I’ve got a few songs written for it, but I don’t know what it’ll turn into, though. I want to get a good producer behind it this time; someone that’s got more experience, like someone to help make some decisions.” Emily Saxton


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