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Amanda Shires Reflects on ‘Terrifying’ Ryman Auditorium Debut

Singer-songwriter gives backstage interview at Nashville venue before headlining 2018 show

The first time she ever played on the Ryman Auditorium stage in Nashvhille, Amanda Shires was distracted by the building’s formidable history.

“I couldn’t look up,” she recalls in a new Behind the Scenes video from the Ryman. “All I did was look down and then I would kind of glance up. It was terrifying.”

Many of the Texas native’s musical heroes had preceded her first turns on the stage, which came as a member of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit or as a guest performing with John Prine. In fact, her first time seeing a show at the Ryman was the Band’s Levon Helm, where she had second row seats. So to eventually find herself standing on the same stage was “something I never dreamed would happen,” she says.

But back in August, Shires took another big step in her career when she filled the headlining slot at the Ryman and played songs from her recent albums, including 2016’s My Piece of Land and 2018’s To the Sunset. “It’s a culmination of awesomeness,” she says.

Her wish for the show, taking place later that day, was simple enough: dance like no one’s looking.

“I want the audience to walk away from tonight feeling more connected to other people and to themselves,” she says. “And I want them to leave knowing it’s OK to dance no matter how inhumanely it might look, because its fun.”

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