Wednesday, April 26, 2023
– Amanda Shires and the late pianist and singer Bobbie Nelson joined forces to collaborate on "Loving You," due June 23 on Silver Knife/ATO Records.
Recorded prior to Nelson's passing, "Loving You" is "a reflection on the life and music of Bobbie Nelson," said Shires.
The first single, "Summertime," a rendition of the Gershwin classic, featuring a guest appearance from Bobbie's brother Willie Nelson, is out now.
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. "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 said.
Co-directed by Shires and Deren Ney, the video for "Summertime" captured by photographer Joshua Black Wilkins and album producer Lawrence Rothman, conveys the process of Shires and Nelson making the record in Arlyn Studios in Austin. The facility is co-owned and operated by Bobbie Nelson's son, Freddy Fletcher, who also plays drums on the album.
"I first saw Bobbie playing when I was 16 or so at some festival somewhere in Texas where I grew up," she said. "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."
Shires and Nelson first met in 2013, thanks to their mutual musician friend, Mickey Raphael, a member of Willie's band. Shires jammed with the Family Band whenever possible. In April of 2021, when Shires was working on her 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. Nelson and Shires 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 solo piano title cut. Shires and Lawrence Rothman produced the album.
Shires can also be seen in the new HBO Original documentary film "Jason Isbell: Running With Our Eyes Closed." Isbell is married to Shires, and has been in his backing band, The 400 Unite. Shies 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 11, 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, Wash. followed by dates in Europe and the United Kingdom.