My Piece of Land
Reviewed by: Jane Roser
“I remember the fire and the way it dimmed, as a fire will sometimes do.”
Blasting out of the gate with a wailing electric guitar, the opening track of singer/songwriter/violinist Amanda Shires’ fifth album My Piece Of Land is spellbinding and exhilarating. “The Way It Dimmed”, with its theme of lost love, is dynamic and melancholic, and it sets the tone for what is perhaps her best and most personal album yet.
Shires’ songbird-like voice just adds to the emotional punch of each track. Written within the last few months of her pregnancy while at home and unable to tour, My Piece Of Land was produced by the iconic Dave Cobb at his Low Country Sound studio. Shires’ husband, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Jason Isbell had worked with Cobb on his last two albums, so there was already a lot of comfort and trust among the duo.
“Slippin'” is about the anxieties one has when insecurities begin to pop up in a stable relationship. “Something’s always been missing, tonight could be the night you go slippin’ away from me” while the lovely tune “Nursery Rhyme”, written for her daughter Mercy, is filled with Disney-like sweetness and grace.
One of my favorite songs is the chilling “My Love (The Storm)”, a gut-wrenchingly haunting tale about a stormy relationship co-written with Isbell and punctuated with heavy electric guitar, fiddle and percussion.
“I Know What It’s Like” explores the complete and utter despair one feels when they are drowned in loss and hopelessness: “I know what it’s like to give up on the fight, to want so much to run away, to have nothing left to say.” It’s a relatable narrative and sobering to listen to.
Powerful in both message and delivery, My Piece Of Land is full of hope and sorrow. It reminds us that even when we feel defeated, it is our courage to carry on in the face of adversity which ultimately saves us and our relationships with loved ones that keeps us whole.