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It’s OK to Fall Apart
By Anthony Small
American Music Association’s 2017 Emerging Artist of the Year, singer/songwriter and violinist Amanda Shires, will roll into the Coach House on Monday Aug. 27—this time on her own tour bus.
“The vibe is cool at The Coach House, the whole atmosphere,” Shires said. “I’m looking forward to going in there again because this time I don’t have to drive myself. Van days are over. It means that I’ll get more sleep! You wake up and you’re in the town and you get to go explore.”
With a promise to send her some local sightseeing and dining recommendations, Dana Point Times dove right into discussing her new album To The Sunset, which was produced by multiple Grammy Award-winner Dave Cobb. Shires wrote the album holed up in her closet from 10 a.m. to midnight every day for months, while her husband watched/distracted their now almost 3-year-old daughter, Mercy Rose.
“In the end, we all have to do our work. It was time to write and anything else is an excuse. I really did enjoy being in that closet writing all those songs. But I do think that if I was going to do it again, maybe I’ll get my closet remodeled so it’s bigger,” Shires said.
“It was an interesting way to learn more about myself, just having things taped up and seeing the work as I went about learning to accept my own process because I know it’s not how everybody else works. That’s not how my husband does his songwriting.”
Shires recently earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Sewanee, but her writing has always dealt bravely with very real issues, including mental illness and addiction.
“I do the best I can with it. I can only write what’s true to me or what I’ve seen in my own experience, but I feel like people get it, you know?” Shires said.
In the song “Take On the Dark”, the listener hears “It’s OK to fall apart” and “I know I said it’s (going to) be okay, but what I meant to say is you’ll make it through.”
“I feel like sometimes when you’re trying to deal with anything political or dark or (difficult situations) in your life, you feel like you have to be strong all the time,” Shires said, “when actually, maybe, the real answer is to let yourself feel your feelings and then gather your strength.”
The final song on To The Sunset is the haunting, if not shocking “Wasn’t I Paying Attention,” and the listener is left asking themselves the same thing.
“That song came about as my Dad was telling me about what happened with his friend that he knew very well. He knew he had troubles and mental illness and what not. It just struck me listening to him say things like, ‘I didn’t see it coming.’ and ‘Could I have been a better friend?’ I think those are the questions we’re all left with when somebody goes that far. And we’re left wondering, did I not ask deep enough questions, was I not proving myself to be a trustworthy listener or somebody that could handle things that are dark. I think the more we can talk about those things, the more likely people are to actually connect on that level.”
“I don’t mind telling people what songs are about or what the catalyst for the song was, but I don’t want to give all of it away because it’s a shared experience, sort of a symbiotic relationship,” Shires shared. “I really like the part about music where, when you put on a record you remember where you were, who you were with and all that kind of stuff.”
Tickets to go see her at The Coach House are $22.50. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27.
The Coach House is located at 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano. For tickets or more information, call 949.496.8930 or visit www.thecoachhouse.com.