Archive for the Kelly Manix Category

Cleaning Out the Old Inbox: Kelly Manix, Amanda Shires, & Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Posted in Amanda Shires, Kelly Manix, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on September 24, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Before I get into today’s post, I want to remind everyone one more time to sign up for the Porterdavis CD giveaway. All you have to do is send me an email or leave a comment on this post to have a chance to win an autographed CD from the band that was named “Best Roots Rock Band” at this year’s Austin Music Awards. You won’t be disappointed.

Now… It is time once again to clear out some of the mp3s that have accumulated on my hard drive over the past few weeks and share with you a few of my new favorites.

First up is Seattle-by-way-of-Tennessee singer/songwriter Kelly Manix. Manix studied the music industry as a student at Middle Tennessee University and studied the musicians themselves after graduation during her tenure working in the marketing department of a “well-established independent label” in Nashville. While working in the industry, Manix says she studied the artists she came in contact with to see how they handled themselves and went about their craft. Perhaps that’s why her debut digital release EP Emerald City sounds like anything but a freshman effort.

Emerald City contains five songs that inhabit the same sonic territories of artists such as Mindy Smith and Another Country era Tift Merritt. I was drawn into this EP by Manix’s warm vocals and production, and I think you will be too. Here’s the title track from her EP Emerald City. It’s the story of what happens when Dorothy returns to Kansas to find that there may be more to life than what the comforts of home have to offer.

Kelly Manix: Emerald City (Buy Album)

Up next is an artist who Justin Townes Earle compares to both Dolly Parton and William Faulkner. Although Amanda Shires has just released her debut album West Cross Timbers, she is no stranger to the spotlight. Shires began playing fiddle and singing with Tommy Allsup and the Texas Playboys when she was just sixteen. She’s also shared the stage with artists such as Billy Joe Shaver, Justin Townes Earle, and Will Kimbrough all while fronting her own band, The Thrift Store Cowboys.

After years of touring with other artists and performing as part of a group, however, Shires decided the time was right to attempt a solo project. She turned down paying gigs on the road and took a job waiting tables so she could stay home to work on the eleven songs that would make up her debut solo album. Co-produced by Shires and songwriter Rod Picott, West Cross Timbers is full of sparse arrangements that fully display Shires’ cheerful sounding vocals on songs that often deal with dark subject matter. Here are two tracks from the album… the murder ballad “I Kept Watch Like Doves” and Shires’ rendition of Picott’s “Angels & Acrobats.”

Amanda Shires: I Kept Watch Like Doves (Buy Album)
Amanda Shires: Angels & Acrobats (Buy Album)

Finally, here’s one for you from the new release by the legendary Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I don’t think I really need to say too much about these guys other than they’ve been going strong for over four decades now, and they show no signs of slowing down on their new album Speed of Life. Much of the album was recorded live in the studio and really hits on that classic Dirt Band sound. Here’s one from it… the band’s version of Shawn Camp’s “Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me.”

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me (Buy Album)

(Edit: Once again, someone has seen fit to file a complaint about an mp3 that was given to me directly by the record label. “Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me” has been removed by my file host. I’m going to leave it down for now… but hopefully it will be back. In the meantime, you can hear most of the song in the YouTube video below.)

…And here’s a video of the guys in the studio making the new album.