No Strings Attached

For a few years, Lubbock native Amanda Shires thought she could be happy playing backup fiddle and letting other people write the songs. Then she fell in love with words.
Photograph courtesy of Brian Blouser/musicianpix.com

Amanda Shires carefully steps from one rock to another as she makes her way down the trail to the Res, a swimming hole in Sewanee, Tennessee. Hickory trees and various oaks loom overhead, and muddy patches of ground occasionally prompt Shires to take a short leap so she can avoid getting her shoes mucked up. It’s a sweetly bucolic scene, for sure. Or at least it would be, if there weren’t business to attend to.

“Yes, I’m finishing it up today,” she insists, speaking into her iPhone. “And don’t worry, you’re getting major thanks.” Logan Rogers, the president of Lightning Rod Records, is on the other end of the line. He’s sitting in his Nashville office working on the packaging of her forthcoming CD, Down Fell the Doves, and waiting for Shires to get the final version of the liner notes to him. She’s running a bit late.

Then she takes a call from her manager, Tim Bernett, to discuss an improbable collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan rapper Inspectah Deck that she’s trying to get him to arrange. There are other things to talk about—the music-streaming service Spotify wants her to create a playlist for its customers, which she’s been having technical difficulties doing—but the 31-year-old singer-songwriter-fiddler has reached the water’s edge, and it’s time to swim, so business can wait.

Shires spends countless summer afternoons at the Res. From September to May the Lubbock native lives in Nashville and focuses on her music. But for the past three summers, she has headed to Sewanee’s

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