concerts: amanda shires @ cat’s cradle backroom

amanda shires @ cat's cradle backroom

I went to see Amanda Shires on a whim, on an invitation from my friend Shannon, on the desire to see some live music in a small space. I figured she’d be good because Jason Isbell wouldn’t marry a bad musician, but she absolutely blew me away; her songwriting is arch and clever, a little bit dirty and a lot poignant, and she’s got a huge, funny, charming stage presence (especially for such a tiny person). She and her band had great rapport, and she’s a phenomenal musician on both the tenor guitar and the ukelele, but oh my god when she busted out the fiddle for the last song she played — holy crap, that woman can fiddle. None of her songs sounded like each other, but the writing is all tight as hell and sharp as tacks. Wonderful.

hannah elsie chapman @ cat's cradle

Hannah Elsie Chapman, the local open who Shannon booked, actually blew my mind even harder than Amanda — Hannah is 20, and she’s absolutely self-possessed and writing songs way, way older than her years. She’s got a voice like Kate Bush and she covered Warren Zevon, and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. I was not anywhere close to that talented or polished or smart as hell when I was 20. When I was 20, I was drinking my way across Central London and vomiting on national monuments. Hannah Chapman is on her way to being famous.

Full set is here.

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