My Piece of Land
Beautifully Heartfelt Folk Songs From Country’s Softly Beating Heart.
I am a huge fan of Ms. Shires two previous albums; so was giddy with excitement when her new PR Company casually asked if I would be interested in reviewing her latest offering.
I couldn’t wait for a CD to cross the Atlantic so even asked for a download….which is so unlike me.
As those two previous albums had been significantly different from each other coupled with the fact that I had deliberately ignored any other reviews, I was genuinely excited to hear what direction Amanda had taken; especially considering husband Jason Isbell has finally found the success his talent undoubtedly deserves and the pair had made and had a beautiful baby (they aren’t shy of sharing photos).
Well, first track The Way It Dimmed is actually a bit jauntier and even ‘Countrier’ than I’d expected, with Amanda’s voice being slightly richer and warmer than I’d remembered; all coming together to make a lovely song to open with.
Never leaving her Country Roots, Amanda introduces us to several new strings to her bow, with the brooding My Love (The Storm) touching on Southern Gothic with a Soft Rock heart, as her violin and the guitar solos mid way through will testify.
Perhaps it was because she was confined to barracks writing this album during the last few weeks of pregnancy that there is a brittle melancholia to songs like Pale Fire and I Know What It’s Like, both reminding me of early Nanci Griffith for some reason; but when the mood takes her Amanda isn’t afraid to rock out too….with When You’re Gone being the most pumped up I’ve ever heard Amanda on record.
I’ve loved the whole album from start to finish, yet from the first listening one song caught my attention above all others, Apparently Mineral Wells is an old song that Amanda wrote when relocating to Nashville to pursue her career several years ago. While loving the excitement of her newly adopted home the narrator still has pangs of homesickness for Mineral Wells. The simple song is touching in every which way, and even after leaving my own home town 40 years ago I too have similar rose-coloured memories, but don’t have the vocabulary or way with words like Amanda to express them.
My most pleasant surprise has been the way Amanda tells her stories via Folk, Country, Rock and with the twee Nursery Rhyme an almost pop tune, without ever not sounding like Amanda Shires. The mix of genres works in a way it shouldn’t, as Dave Cobb’s perfect production values brings out the best in both Amanda’s singing and songwriting on every single track, regardless of the chosen style; making this her very best album to date.
Released USA 16th September
Released Europe ????