Brandi Carlile forms The Highwomen, a new supergroup with Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, & Natalie Hemby

The Highwomen | photo by Nicki Fletcher | via

What’s better than one Country superstar? Four!

Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby, some of the biggest names in Country, have come together to form The Highwomen. The band’s name is a play on that of the 1985 group, The Highwaymen. The Highwomen are the perfectly named answer to the male domination of Country music. Their mere formation, as well as their new single, celebrates women and all their strength.

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Watch Strand Of Oaks perform “Ruby” with Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, and members of My Morning Jacket

Strand Of Oaks performs on Thr Late Show with Stephen Colbert | Still from YouTube video

Last month, Strand Of Oaks’ Timothy Showalter took to Twitter shortly after releasing the official music video for “Ruby” saying “this is by far one of the happiest songs I’ve ever written”. And by the grin on his face during much of last nights performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, it was clear to see the joyous memories come to life.

I’m sure it didn’t hurt having an all-star Americana-Folk group of friends behind him, including Jason Isbell (who is featured on the album), Amanda Shires, and Bo Koster and Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket who played a role in the creation of Strand Of Oaks’ forthcoming record Eraserland Continue reading →


Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires cover “Born in The U.S.A.” for Springsteen tribute album

photo via
photo via

Riding on the heels of this weekend’s patriotic festivities, singer-songwriter favorites Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires have released their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” appearing as the title track for an upcoming song by song tribute to Springsteen’s breakout album. The style on the album, called Dead Man’s Town: A Tribute To Born In The USA hearkens back to Springsteen’s somber Nebraska, bringing a different tone to the album’s original lively spirit.

Isbell and Shires told Rolling Stone:

“Born in the U.S.A.’ is one of my favorite songs of Springsteen’s, making it one of my favorite ever…I love that the song paints a picture of struggle in the face of the American dream, and the irony in the chorus is delivered with such force that it nearly transcends irony altogether.”

Shires also cites the song as a favorite, “Because I write songs and play rock & roll shows, Springsteen is obviously a hero of mine. ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ is one of my favorites because so many people have seemingly misunderstood the lyrical content and the song’s overall tone. When you listen to the demo, the dark, minor key arrangement makes it clear that this is not strictly a song of celebration. We wanted to stay true to that version.”

Check out the track listing below, and listen to Isbell and Shires’ cover of “Born In The U.S.A.” Jason Isbell plays the Philadelphia Folk Festival on August 17th.

1. Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, “Born in the U.S.A.”
2. Apache Relay, “Cover Me”
3. Quaker City Nighthawks, “Darlington County”
4. Blitzen Trapper, “Working on the Highway”
5. Joe Pug, “Downbound Train”
6. Low, “I’m on Fire”
7. Holly Williams, “No Surrender”
8. Ryan Culwell, “Bobby Jean”
9. Trampled by Turtles, “I’m Goin’ Down”
10. Justin Townes Earle, “Glory Days”
11. Nicole Atkins, “Dancing in the Dark”
12. North Mississippi All-Stars, “My Hometown”


Just announced: WXPN Welcomes Amanda Shires to Milkboy on January 9th

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.
Just announced: XPN Welcomes singer-songwriter Amanda Shires to Milkboy on Thursday, January 9th. Tickets are on sale here. Shires released the excellent Down Fell The Doves this past Summer, and we recently saw her in concert in Philly with her husband Jason Isbell (who himself just announced a show at Union Transfer on 1/29). Working with her husband, Shires’ album is a collection of well crafted Americana from the talented fiddler. Opening for Shires is August John Lutz II (of Levee Drivers) and Chelsea Mitchell. Listen to a few songs from Amanda’s album below.


My Morning Download: “Buttleproof” by Amanda Shires

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.
Singer-songwriter Amanda Shires recently released Down Fell the Doves, an excellent collection of rootsy songs from the Texas fiddler and songwriter. Many of the songs feature her husband Jason Isbell on guitar, yet it’s Shires’ voice and stories that really make the album sing. One of the best examples of this is on the song “Bulletproof,” about Amanda meeting a fan named Tiger Bill after one of her concerts and him giving her a real Siberian tiger claw. With a Latin beat and distorted guitars that sound as if they could be from a Tom Waits song, Shire’s storyline keeps you engaged throughout the song. Below, download “Bulletproof” via Heavy Rotation from NPR Music.

Shires and Isbell were recently on World Cafe with David Dye. Listen to the session here.


The Week Ahead: Josh Ritter, Tash Sultana, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Jim James and more

Tash Sultana | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Yes, we get it — it’s a crazy busy musical week here in Philly, between NonCOMM kicking off at World Cafe Live tomorrow and a certain mega-sold-out Saturday night show that will be packing in the crowds on South Street.

But don’t let that stop you from getting out and seeing music; if you’re not grooving to Lizzo’s “Juice,” might we suggest Juice WRLD? Or how about the dazzling guitar stylings of Tash Sultana, or Rodrigo Y Gabriela? There’s a modern rock benefit on Sunday, two killer jazz events, singer-songwriters galore…here are 16 concerts to see in the next 7 days, all around Philly.
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Just Announced: Philadelphia Folk Festival’s initial 2019 lineup features David Crosby, Margo Price, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and more

Margo Price | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN // David Crosby | photo by Anna Webber | courtesy of the artist // Preservation Hall Jazz Band | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

The 58th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival will return this year with an impressive and inclusive lineup. The festival will be headlined by David Crosby & Friends, Margo Price, The Mavericks, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Singer-songwriter Joan Osborne brings her songs of Bob Dylan project to the Old Pool Farm stage, with sets by Amanda Shires, Dom Flemons of Carolina Chocolate  Drops, Kaia Kater, and more in the mix.  Continue reading →