Amanda Shires on John Prine, her new album and working with husband Jason Isbell
Amanda Shires’ new record, “To The Sunset,” is out Aug. 3. It’s full of some musical departures for the singer-songwriter, with some poppier elements that may take a few fans by surprise.
Ahead of that release, the Lubbock native is setting out on tour supporting a few artists. On June 30, she’ll open for the legendary John Prine, a songwriter whom Shires and her husband, Jason Isbell, have toured with in the past.
“I got to jam with John when I opened for him about three years ago, and then after about the third or fourth show I finally got up the courage to talk to him,” Shires said. “And we’ve all been friends ever since.”
She jokingly said that she’ll be performing with Prine at Bass Concert Hall on Saturday night “whether he wants me up there or not — watch out, John Prine! I’m comin’ for ya!”
Shires, armed with just a ukulele, will showcase songs both old and new. Her new record does do some sonic experimenting — there are some scuzzy guitars, keyboards and electronic elements — but it’s something Shires said she’s been working toward since 2013’s “Down Fell The Doves.”
“I agree it is different, but I think you can kind of hear the beginning of it all the way back then,” she said. “But on ‘Sunset,’ I was having an issue with the songs I was writing and the music I was hearing, and I wanted to make sure the violin fit in well with all of it.”
Indeed, lead singles “Leave It Alone” and “Eve’s Daughter” are electric, raucous and rambunctious, but her signature violin is still there.
Isbell makes a few appearances on the album, too, part of the Shires-Isbell working relationship that has been there ever since 2011’s “Here We Rest.”
“It’s hard to predict the future, but I think any chance we get, we’d want to appear on each other’s albums, and we love to work together,” Shires said. “I got really lucky that the man I fell in love with is a great guitar player. I can’t play guitar like that!”
Can Isbell play the violin well?
Long pause. “Um ... yes! (Laughter.) He’s played for me a few times, I’ve given him lessons.”
Amanda Shires and John Prine play Bass Concert Hall on June 30 at 8 p.m. For tickets and more information, go to Bass Concert Hall’s website.