Well before she settled into the contemporary Americana conscious as the wife of Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires had a musical career dating back to her teens, when she played fiddle with the Texas Playboys. I first came across her work some six years ago, when she recorded with the Thrift Store Cowboys, and Shires has spent time on the road or in the studio with a star studded ring of Americana icons, including Todd Snider, Justin Townes Earle, John Prine, and, of course, her husband.

To consider Shires as merely Mrs. Jason Isbell sells her talents so desperately short. She is, in her own right, a songwriter to be reckoned with, as is evidenced by the collection of songs that compose her latest release, My Piece of Land, which drops later this month.

Trail Mix is excited to showcase “Harmless,” which should serve as no small suggestion to run out and scoop up Shires’ new record.

Returning to Trail Mix is one of my favorite bluegrass bands, Chatham County Line. I have been following these guys from their earliest days, and – without a doubt – their songcraft gets better with each record. Autumn, the band’s new release, hits the streets this week and continues the streak of stellar recordings from this North Carolina quartet.

For fans of the blues, this month’s mix has a couple great – though disparate – tracks. To get your mojo working, check out the bluesy acoustic slide of Luke Winslow-King and the boisterous electric boogie of the legendary Bobby Rush.

Also featured are new tunes from Elijah Ford, Donovan Woods, Cheshires, Stewart Eastham, Farewell Milwaukee, Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches, Bill Kirchen, Dex Romweber, Laura Cortese, Amythyst Kiah and Roy Andrade, The Deltahorse, and Roddie Romero.

Stay tuned to the Trail Mix blog this month, as chats with Mandolin Orange, Will Carter, and Jill Freeman are on tap, and tickets for The Congress’s record release party at The Broadberry in Richmond will be up for grabs.

And, as always, you get my monthly plea. Get out and buy some of this music. Seek out these bands when they come to town. Music is no easy game, and these bands appreciate – and need – your support. Show them some love.

Photo by Josh Wool.

  1. Freight Train Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches 3:29
  2. Try As You Might Elijah Ford & The Bloom 3:45
  3. You Are My Light Chatham County Line 2:58
  4. Happy Heart (Can Go for Miles) The Deltahorse 4:00
  5. I'm Glad Trouble Don't Last Always Luke Winslow-King 4:18
  6. Wildfire Mandolin Orange 5:30
  7. Ma Jolie Roddie Romero & The Hub City All-Stars 3:51
  8. Trouble of the World Dex Romweber 4:11
  9. The Game The Congress 2:11
  10. Sweetheart, My Dream Is Not Over Jill Freeman 3:34
  11. Caught in the Abyss Farewell Milwaukee 3:26
  12. 10 Leaving Nashville Donovan Woods 3:26
  13. Going Down That Road Feeling Bad By Amythyst Kiah, With Roy Andrade Various Artists 3:28
  14. Cadillac Will Carter 4:35
  15. Harmless Amanda Shires 3:53
  16. Hounds Of The Bakersfield Bill Kirchen 3:11
  17. Love This Feelin' Chesires 3:27
  18. Naked in NigardsvatnetAll-in Alltid Laura Cortese 5:58
  19. Porcupine Meat Bobby Rush 4:14
  20. Sometimes, The Road Stewart Eastham 4:09

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