Songs to Get Through a Pandemic, #5, Our Problem

Scroll down to content

Amanda Shires is a Texas-born singer/songwriter/fiddle player extraordinaire and powerhouse collaborator. Her husband is Americana powerhouse Jason Isbell, who credits her with saving his life (see his song Cover Me Up), and one of her musical lives is as a member of Isbell’s band, the 400 Unit.

But that is selling her very, very short. She has a rich career on her own, with a series of well-received albums. Even more, she was the organizing force behind the alt-country, all-female supergroup The Highwomen (including Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby), mentioned in my Day 2 post. And she has put her values (and herself) out front on several projects, including this song, which gives voice to a woman considering an abortion and the compassion she finds in her friends. It’s apparently drawn from her own experience and cuts to the humanity and heartbreak in the situation. It doesn’t lift me up, but it does ground me, as I am aware that all these everyday struggles that appeared to have been disrupted by the pandemic—oh shit, surprise!—were merely harder to see. Back and as bad as ever.

True to her A-plus networking chops, she’s joined on the song by Cyndi Lauper, Angie Stone, Linda Perry, Nona Hendryx and Peaches, as well as indie hip-hop artist K. Flay and Tennessee-based artists Lilly Hiatt, Morgane Stapleton and Valerie June. Isbell plays guitar on this version of the song, with Sheryl Crow helping out on bass.

If you want to check out Shires on her own, give a listen to When You Need a Train It Never Comes, Eve’s Daughter, Ghost Bird, and My Love (The Storm).

Oh, and it’s her birthday.

The lyrics:

Remember Katie White, she jumped the fence that night
She ran away in tears, your sister drank her beer
We were just eighteen, the older girls could be so mean
I was talking just to talk, you were still in shock

And all I could think to say
Is everything’s gonna be okay
It’s gonna be alright
I’m on your side
I’m on your side

Are you feeling well?
Are you gonna tell?
How long have you known?
Did you tell him? Does he know?
You knew there was something wrong
Just a few weeks along
You told him, and he broke it off
And the money won’t cover the cost

And all I could think to say
Is everything’s gonna be okay
It’s gonna be alright
I’m on your side
I’m on your side

No one has to know
The scars won’t even show
At least that’s what I’ve heard
No bigger than a baby bird (no bigger than a baby bird)
No bigger than a baby bird (no bigger than a baby bird)

Do you think God still sees me?
Coming out of this twilight sleep
I’m not sure who I am
Staring into my empty hands

And all I could think to say
Is everything’s gonna be okay
It’s gonna be alright
I’m on your side
I’m on your side

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: