Friday Feature: Amanda "Pearl" Shires

Amanda is a badass. haha. I (Kelly) guess if your ears haven't had the pleasure of meeting her tunes, I should let you know she is a musician based out of Nashville, TN who is out on the road touring more than she is at home. Her companions are a fiddle and a ukulele and she never leaves the house without feathers in her hair and boots on her feet.

I must warn you, during this interview there was some wine drinking so if our phrasing is odd, you know why.

Visit her web site HERE to listen to two songs from her last album "West Cross Timbers" 

What are you currently working on? 
Just finished up in the studio and have narrowed down the track list for my new album that will be released in February/March. I am also working on my first music video, which we start shooting next week!  (Me and Amanda have both been working hard on the props for the music video set and will post pictures after the video is shot) I am also preparing for a tour I'm about to go on with Thrift Store Cowboys. We have a new album, Light Fighter, being released October 12th.

How long have you been in Thrift Store Cowboys?
Since we became a band around 10 years ago. The founding members are Daniel Fluitt, myself, Colt Miller, and Clint Miller. 



Are there any other bands/musicians that you work with/collaborate with?
Other than my solo stuff and Thrift Store Cowboys, I also play with Rod Picott. I love collaborating with friends and other musicians whether it's writing a song or performing. The thing about writing with someone is, you have to do it with someone you absolutely trust because it's intimate and when you are trying to translate emotions accurately  into lyrics it's difficult and sometimes embarrassing.

What are the differences between your last record, West Cross Timbers, and you new record?
Less goat, more note! I took a few vocal lesson and worked on my breathing. I was a lot more involved on the production side with this album.

Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins  headband by Bueno Bueno

You just got back from a 61 day tour (US and UK) and you look so good. Most people go on tour and gain weight, but every time I see you on the road, you look so fit! What do you do to keep up with your health and fitness while traveling? 
Jump-roping! ...and a whole lot of chasing cute boys as they pass-by (laughs). I count calories everyday; Most people underestimate the amount of calories they intake daily. I also try to hike or run while staying in safe areas, but you have to always be careful. One time I was out running and I spit on a man after he said some ugly (threatening) things. I wouldn't have ever done that if I hadn't been at the "tipping point." I don't condone spitting on anyone, but I was really tired from being on the road. I really don't recommend it because they could come back and knife ya and you can't predict a knifing! 
Pearl later told me that she is a firm believer in lunges and push-ups! 

I love collecting things and finding out about other collections. Is there anything that your collect? Any big collections?
I recently started collecting towels. Beach towels from the cities I stay at while on tour. 
pearl-snap shirts
All things George Jones (laughs and jokes about a hair doll)
Handmade boots (by Colt Miller)
I collect lotion real bad like a bitch! I have an ocean of lotion. 
Postcards, I don't always send them though. 
I used to collect Polaroids or my friends and of tour stuff because I wanted to remember everything when I'm old, but then I realized by the time I'm old enough to care, I'll be too senile to even know who's pictures I'm looking at. I have boxes of polaroids in my closet.
I make my own buttons to sell at my merch table, so I collect things to put in them like dead bugs, maps, watch parts, paper etc. 

Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins  Boots by Colt Miller

A lot of people know you as "Pearl," but it's not really your middle name. How did you get the name?
Jeff Dennis, a former TSC member gave it to me one year while on a Thrift Store Cowboys tour. When you are the only girl in a van with a bunch of boys, you get to a point where you have to speak your mind so I got the name REAMS first. Somehow, on the same tour, we were all in the van and started picking out pornstar names. It has something to do with adding together the name of your school and the street you grew up on. Well, I couldn't remember those names so I told them I remembered my Granddad had a dog named Pearl so I got the name "Pearl Reams." My actual middle name is Rose. 

Do you have any embarrassing moments that you wouldn't mind sharing?
(amanda laughs and puts her head down) yep. I usually never get nervous about playing/singing. I find performing to be the easier, but for some reason my nerves got me. I was in Ireland opening for Rod Picott (one of few shows that I have opened for solo) and I was so nervous. I got through two songs and then had to excuse myself for a restroom break. IT WAS SO EMBARRASSING. Everyone knew. It was the most horrifying experience because I still had to come back on stage and finish the set. I think I just have bad luck in Ireland. Another time, my pants ripped while I was on stage (I think it was all the hearty Irish food) and I had to walk off stage to retrieve a jacket and then walk back on to finish. That was embarrassing, but nothing beats excusing yourself to go to the restroom while a crowd waits on you.

If you were not a musician, what else would you be doing? What other professions interest you?
I have always been interested in being a Veterinarian or recently I've been wanting to help with the Gulf spill recovery. Maybe write a book just to do it. Just to prove that another literary idiot can do it. I don't know, I like the idea of "helping" because my mom is a nurse and its a nobel job so I would like to help in some way. I think it would be cool to work at a wildlife center for birds. 

Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins 

I've been playing the fiddle for 18 years and my goal isn't to master it, but do it because it's the only thing that keeps me from blowing my brains out. I don't think I could do anything else really. I grew up knowing it wouldn't make me a lot of money, but I don't care. When you love something, you just have to do it. I even play for free sometimes. You should do what makes you happy. We don't even know why we are here, so we might as well do what makes us happy and who cares about the other stuff. Just do what makes you happy because we could be eaten by bigfoot tomorrow. (see why I love this girl?) 

Is there anything about your music that people seem to miss, that you feel they should understand?
The music is sadder than people seem to grasp. I think because they sound "pretty," people think I'm singing about something happy, when really, I'm singing about dying (referring to a specific song on her new album). TK describes the songs as a "lovely sadness" and I think that is more accurate.

 The end

During the interviewing and wine drinking Amanda decided that she would like to give the Bueno Bueno readers the opportunity to win her album "West Cross Timbers." All you have to do is CLICK HERE and become a follower on her blog. Be sure to leave a comment so I know who joined her friends list. I really enjoy reading her blog because she's funny, she travels all over the world and is always involved in something exciting. If you go to see "Love Don't Let Me Down" this fall, keep an eye out for this pretty lady.