Acclaimed singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Amanda Shires and the late, pioneering pianist and singer Bobbie Nelson joined forces to collaborate on the haunting album, Loving You –available June 23rd on Silver Knife/ATO Records. Pre-order Loving You HERE. Recorded prior to Nelson’s passing and a labor of love for all involved, Loving You is “a reflection on the life and music of Bobbie Nelson,” says Shires. The first single, “Summertime,” an emotive and stirring rendition of the Gershwin classic, featuring a guest appearance from Bobbie’s brother Willie Nelson, is out now – listen HERE and watch the video HERE.
The songs of George and Ira Gershwin loomed large in Bobbie Nelson’s life – she and Willie recorded the Grammy-winning set Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin in 2016. Here, they revisit that song with an aching rendition on which the trio of Willie, Bobbie and Amanda evoke feelings of nostalgia and heartbreak. “I think she related to the song because she was a mother and the family unit was important to her, whether or not she had the idealized version,” Shires says.
Co-directed by Amanda Shires and Deren Ney, the video for “Summertime” captured by photographer Joshua Black Wilkins and album producer Lawrence Rothman, conveys the magic of Amanda and Bobbie making the record in Arlyn Studios in Austin, Texas. The facility is co-owned and operated by Bobbie Nelson’s son, Freddy Fletcher, who also plays drums on the album, making the endeavor a true family affair.
The making of Loving You was Shires’ mission to pay respect to the only woman she saw working in a band and pursuing a career as a sideman. “I first saw Bobbie playing when I was 16 or so at some festival somewhere in Texas where I grew up,” she explains. “I saw her perform many times over the years and always admired the way she played so effortlessly and with so much strength and confidence. She radiated music. Much of my path seemed possible because I saw a woman working and making a career of music at a young age, and that woman was Bobbie Nelson.”
Amanda and Bobbie first met in 2013, thanks to their mutual musician friend, Mickey Raphael. They formed a kinship, and Shires jammed with the Family Band whenever possible. In April of 2021, when Shires was working on her wildly acclaimed album Take It Like a Man, she considered including “Always on My Mind” on the album and booked studio time with Nelson, “because the only piano that fits that song is Bobbie’s,” she says. Once together in the studio, their deep musical connection was undeniable. Amanda and Bobbie decided the two should start their own band, and saved the track for what would eventually become Loving You.
Featuring songs Nelson and Shires played and treasured their entire lives, Loving You includes a few of Nelson’s favorites along with her own elegant solo piano title cut. Produced by Shires and Lawrence Rothman, the album traces Nelson’s musical story – and personal journey. See below for complete tracklisting.
Loving You follows Shires most recent album, Take It Like A Man also produced by Lawrence Rothman. Written and recorded during the lockdown, the critically lauded record features Jason Isbell on guitar and guest vocals by Maren Morris and Brittney Spencer and landed on many “Best of 2022” lists including NPR, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Stereogum and BrooklynVegan among others. Following its release, Amanda embarked on a triumphant US tour and made electrifying TV appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Late Show with James Corden, and CBS Mornings.
In 2023, Amanda was named Record Store Day Ambassador along with her husband Jason Isbell. For the occasion two new vinyl albums were released on April 22nd and available exclusively in participating indie record stores including The Sound Emporium EP on Southeastern Records (distributed via Thirty Tigers), and Live at Columbia Studio A on ATO Records.
A busy time for Shires, she can also be seen in the new HBO Original documentary film JASON ISBELL: RUNNING WITH OUR EYES CLOSED and is also featured in two new museum exhibits: The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s American Currents: State of the Music and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Right Here, Right Now.
On June 11th Shires will perform with The Highwomen, the supergroup she founded also featuring Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Brandi Carlile at the Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, WA, followed by dates in Europe and the UK (see below for tour dates).
LOVING YOU TRACKLISTING
Waltz Across Texas
Always On My Mind
Old Fashioned Love
Summertime (Feat. Willie Nelson)
Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
Dream A Little Dream Of Me
Tempted And Tried
Over The Rainbow
AMANDA SHIRES 2023 TOUR DATES
6/11 Quincy, WA – Gorge Amphitheatre (The Highwomen)
6/17 Vitoria, Spain – Azkena Rock festival
6/18 Tunbridge Wells, UK – Black Deer Festival
6/20 Glasgow, Scotland – King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
6/21 Manchester, UK – Manchester Academy
6/22 London, UK – Omera
6/23 Bristol, UK – Bristol Exchange
6/25 Eindhoven, Netherlands – Paterskerk
6/26 Groningen, Netherlands – Oosterpoort
6/27 Amsterdam Netherlands – THT / Paradiso Noord
9/9 Grand Rapids, MI – Grand Rapids Riverfest