Amanda Shires

Amanda Shires
Photograph by Joshua Wilkins

On her fourth album, Carrying Lightning (Silver Knife), the 29-year-old singer, fiddler, and songwriter makes good on her apprenticeship with the legendary western swing outfit the Texas Playboys and the Tom Waits and Dolly Parton comparisons that have lately followed her around. Shires, who was raised in Lubbock and Mineral Wells, lives in Nashville.

I believe you’re the only person I’ve ever interviewed who has been a character in Hi and Lois. [A fiddler named Amanda appeared in the February 19, 2010, edition of the comic strip.] How’d that happen?
Greg Walker, who writes the strip, was at a show and he didn’t have money for a CD, so I just gave him one. A few months later he wrote me an e-mail saying, “I really apologize. I just lost track of it and totally skipped on sending you your money. But I got you one better. Check the newspaper on February 19.”

Are you planning to appear in any other comic strips? A Hägar the Horrible cameo might do wonders for your career.
I’m thinking Marmaduke.

You play the fiddle in Gwyneth Paltrow’s band in the movie Country Strong. How did that come about?
I don’t tour in the winter, because it snows and I’m not a good driver. So I was basically on break, and I saw they were having auditions for the movie. I tried out and I didn’t get it at first, which was fine. Then they called me back a week later and said they’d like to

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