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So, How Was Your 2020, Amanda Shires?

Singer-songwriter talks appreciation for 2 Chainz and Cardi B, learning how to use ProTools, and covering a Genesis song

John Shearer*

So, How Was Your 2020? is a series in which our favorite entertainers answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their year. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.

In late February, Amanda Shires’ supergroup the Highwomen picked up a nomination for the 2020 ACM Awards. That event, which typically takes place in April, didn’t end up happening until mid-September due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She was also supposed to assume her regular role as a member of her husband Jason Isbell’s band the 400 Unit as he toured behind the new album Reunions, but that also went up in smoke as the pandemic set in. It’s worth noting, though, that Isbell has been one of the few artists who’s figured out how to make distanced shows work in the second half of 2020.

Shires has kept busy with music during lockdown, contributing fiddle to a new song by Luke Combs and releasing “The Problem,” her own song in support of abortion rights. In the meantime, Shires spent her time at home with Isbell and their daughter, revisiting episodes of Mister Rogers and Decadent Dayne’s TikTok. As 2020 winds down, she is teasing one more surprise in the form of a Genesis cover that’ll make you want to dance.

The album I listened to the most in 2020 was:
The Weeknd, After Hours.

My favorite TV show to stream during quarantine was:
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.

The song that will define “2020” for me is:
“That’s All,” the Amanda Shires version of Genesis. I dare you not to dance when you hear it. I was playing it a lot on tour. I recorded it with my buddy Peter Levin. The Mimosa fellas, Mateo DiFontaine and Mike Larson mixed it for me. The official release is December 31st, 2020.

I’d define my current state of mind as:
I guess I’d have to define my state of mind with a sentence. “You’re on thin ice, Buddy.”

The viral video I kept coming back to in quarantine was:
Anything Decadent Dayne. Comedic genius AND food.

The old-favorite album I returned to for comfort this year was:
Sly & The Family Stone, Fresh.

The old-favorite movie I returned to for comfort this year was:
Mister Rogers DVDs. I have feculent internet.

A new hobby I picked up in quarantine was:
ProTools, though some days I would call it my arch-nemesis.

The celebrity I’d most want to quarantine with is:
2 Chainz.

The most interesting thing I learned to cook during quarantine was:
Pad Thai.

The best book I read in quarantine was:
Maggie Blake Bailey, Visitation.

Something positive that happened to me that nobody noticed was:
I’m better at being alone.

The mistake I learned the most from this year was:
You can paint over anything.

The biggest hero of 2020 is:
Cardi B

A word or phrase I never want to hear again is:
I’m not writing that….because I don’t want to see it either.

The thing I’m least looking forward to in 2021 is:
More of the same.

The thing I’m most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over is:
CONCERTS. Singing as loud as I can at concerts. Do y’all remember dancing or swaying? Are your dance moves best described as inhumane? Me too. Mine too. But IDGAF, I want to see shows and do my best attempts at dancing. I want to play my music for folks…….so I’ll be patiently waiting for the return of the live music meditation.

My biggest hope for 2021 is:
The return of the live music meditation.

From Rolling Stone US