Posted: October 20, 2020 in MUSIC
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Last month, Amanda Shires released “The Problem” in recognition of International Safe Abortion Day. The riveting ballad, featuring her husband Jason Isbell, confronted the stigmas associated with reproductive rights, and over the weekend “The Problem” received the live video treatment from Isbell and Shires.

Shires said the song was originally written in 2016 and narrated by a group of women discussing the decision to have an abortion. “Its first incarnation was talking about another girl’s abortion. It just struck me that it’s not something we all talk about, and it should be something that we talk about,” Shires in a telephone interview. “And when you hear people talk about it, you usually hear ‘em describing somebody else — whether it’s really somebody else or ‘asking for a friend,’ you never really know.”

Instead, Shires uses a young couple’s conversation about whether to have an abortion to propel the song, echoing her own experience with abortion in her late 20s. The husband-and-wife team are gearing up to hit the road for a run of acoustic duo performances next month. On November 5th, Isbell and Shires will play a drive-in show at Maggie Valley Festival Grounds in North Carolina, as well as a two-night run of “pod” concerts at The Bend in Charleston, SC on November 6th and 7th.

The video features a familiar sight for fans of Isbell, Shires, and Peter Levin‘s “I So Lounging” series, as the power couple performs from their house just outside of Nashville, TN. While the sound of the video is markedly similar to the single released last month, the performance video provides added emotion to the already-wrenching song. Throughout Shires and Isbell’s back-and-forth vocals, they return to a refrain of “I’m on your side.” While only four simple words, this provides a backbone to the message of standing by and supporting those affected by the fight for women’s rights.

Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell perform “The Problem.” Recorded live at the barn.

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