Spotlight on Shires and Picott, performing Friday at The Blue Vine

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Texas fiddler and Yankee singer-songwriter a might seem an unlikely pairing, but the natural chemistry between Rod Picott and Amanda Shires is undeniable.
Rising from the sun-driven plains of West Texas is fiddler and singer/songwriter Amanda Shires; from the northern mill towns of New England is Rod Picott. At 16, Shires was playing fiddle with The Texas Playboys, an auspicious start that testifies to her natural talent and soulful delivery.
From there, she went on to be
one of the founding members of Lubbock’s Thrift Store Cowboys, releasing four albums independently and reaching top 10 status on many charts around the country as well as becoming the number one selling act in 2007 for the respected internet retailer Miles Of Music. In 2008 one of Amanda Shires’ compositions was featured on NPR’s “All Songs Considered.”
Her first solo album, “Being Brave,” from 2005, mixes arrangements of traditional fiddle music along with several of her own compositions. Now 25, Shires stands in front of an already impressive body of work and on the edge of a career in full bloom.
In 1994, Rod Picott moved to Nashville, where he established himself as one of the better new writers in town as well as opening shows for Alison Krauss and Union Station and Gillian Welch. His co-write “Broke Down” with Slaid Cleaves was the most-played song on Americana radio in 2001.
Picott has released five albums since 2001 to stellar reviews, both stateside and overseas. Picott’s debut release, “Tiger Tom Dixon’s Blues” received airplay from Bob Harris on the BBC, and Music Row magazine’s Robert Oermann called the debut, “the birth of a major, major artist.”
In 2002, “Straydogs” featured guest appearances from Alison Krauss and frequent co-writer Slaid Cleaves and found its way onto the Americana chart.
In 2005, a collection of live performances titled Travel Log was released. Recorded in front of a small crowd in Charlotte, the cd documents a soulful performance with accompaniment from dobro and lapsteel player Matt Mauch.
In the summer of 2007, Picott assembled some of his favorite musicians and recorded another album, “Summerbirds.” Maverick magazine called it “as damn near perfect as you can get” and gave the album a full five star review.
Shires and Picott met at the Folk Alliance Conference in Austin, Texas in 2006. Over the following two years they toured throughout the States and Europe playing more than 150 shows together.
In the winter of 2008 they began co-writing and recording their debut duo project. They have been touring The U.K. and Europe in support of their debut duo release, titled “Sew Your Heart with Wires,” a completely acoustic recording featuring only their two voices, Picott’s guitar and Shires’ fiddle and ukulele.
You can hear them at
The pair will take the stage at The Blue Vine, 209 S. Main St., Salisbury, this Friday, 9 p.m. to midnight. There’s no cover charge.
For more information, call 704-797-0093