Released just weeks ago on Aug. 3, To The Sunset puts a gritty, no-holds-barred spin on Shires' established folk-country sound, complete with aching cries and what Rolling Stone calls "crunchy" guitar riffs. While the sound has changed, Shires' pointed songwriting style—enriched with a feminist bent that's made clear in new tracks like "Eve's Daughter," which chronicles her mother's story of raising her children alone with "a lotta workin' late" and "a little Section Eight"—remains the same. Perhaps that's no surprise, as Shires' months of pulling triple-duty as a musician, mother and student has finally paid off with an MFA in creative writing from Sewanee, The University of the South.
On Saturday, Aug. 25, Shires will make a stop in Boise to promote To The Sunset with a concert at Neurolux (a new venue; originally she was slated for The Egyptian), touring on her own between stints playing with her husband, Jason Isbell, and his band The 400 Unit. Though To The Sunset is Shires' fifth full-length release, it proves that listeners and concert-goers should still keep one thing in mind when seeking out her sound: to expect the unexpected.