Amanda Birdsall

Amanda Birdsall

 Vero Beach, Florida, USA
BandFolkAmericana

Stunningly crafted with vivid detail, gorgeous vocals, sparkling guitar and a wailing harmonica, Birdsall’s songs bring to life stories from the unsung heart of America.

Biography

2009 - 3rd place winner - Susquehanna Music & Arts Festival
2002 - Finalist - Minnesota Folk Festival

In the middle of working on a doctorate in psychology, halfway through an Adult Psychopathology class, Amanda Birdsall looked down at her notebook. Instead of listening to the lecture, she had completely filled the margins with songs.

“When I saw those songs crowded into the margins like little orphans shoved into a hallway and forgotten, I stood up and walked out of class. I stopped by my dorm room and grabbed my guitar. I abandoned everything else.”

Then Amanda drove. She made it all the way to Canada where she wrote songs and worked on organic farms in exchange for a cot and all the vegetables she could eat.

“It was a mystical time for me,” Amanda says. “I was moving the earth with my hands all day and writing songs by candle-light. I actually started writing about people I might have helped as a psychologist: a little girl lost in the Child Welfare System; a young bride who chooses her wedding day to run away from her life; an old woman coping with the death of her last living friend. It was a miracle of a time."

Amanda has recorded two solo studio albums and a live CD, has interviewed and performed live on multiple TV and radio programs, and has shared the stage with Sloan Wainwright, Edie Carey, Danny Schmidt, and Kate McDonnell.

Amanda also performs and records her music as half of the duo The Orphan Trains, in which she also plays violin, piano, and banjo. Their album "On The Night You Were Born" debuted in August 2008.

"One of the most talented singer-songwriters not only in this area, but among all folk-rock performers! Keep your eyes on this one!" - Doreen Poreba, former SunFest coordinator

"One of the best of the next generation of singer-songwriters." - Laurie Oudin, Main Street Cafe owner

Lyrics

Jenell

Written By: Amanda Lee Birdsall © 2007

when you were a little girl
you were taken from your family
your mama was young and wild
your daddy was a mystery

Hey..........Jenell, I wish you well
Hey....... mmm hmmm

when the circus came to town
you rode on an elephant
but in your secret heart
you loved the lion best

Hey..........Jenell, I wish you well
Hey....... mmm hmmm

you spilled your ice cream cone
down the front of your yellow dress
trying to save a baby bird
that had fallen from its mother's nest

Hey..........Jenell, I wish you well
Hey....... mmm hmmm

you dream you're an angel
you dream that you can fly
you sleep on a bed of stars
while the moon sings a lullaby

ooooo.....

I don't know where you are today
but I hope that you're alright
10 years since you left my door
I still pray for you every night

Hey..........Jenell, I wish you well
Hey....... mmm hmmm

Roberta

Written By: Amanda Lee Birdsall © 2007

You woke up in a wedding dress
outside of New Orleans
something borrowed, something blue,
somebody else's dream

and you heard the organ playing
as your families shuffled in
and you knew that it was over
even before it would begin

sometimes when what you've waited your whole life for
finally comes along
you find your heart gave up long ago,
packed her suitcase and moved on

and you ache but you cannot deny
the truth that haunts your sleep
so you break another heart
but it doesn't make you free

Roberta, rest your weary head
You were born to roam
and never to wed
a woman as bold as truth
you did the only thing
that you could do
Roberta

you are sure that in your life
you've let a lot of people down
you keep trying to start over
in another rainy winter town

but these bars are filled with gamblers,
the downtrodden and the mean
and you're just one more loveless face
in the shadows on your knees

sometimes you feel like you're the only one
who ever did somebody wrong
but whose life are you living,
someone else's or your own
we all do the best we can
in this life with what we've got
each day a little wiser for knowing
who we are and who we're not

Roberta, rest your weary head
You were born to roam
and never to wed
a woman as bold as truth
you did the only thing
that you could do
Roberta

You woke up in a wedding dress
outside of New Orleans
something borrowed, something blue,
somebody else's dream

Oh Mary

Written By: Amanda Lee Birdsall © 2007

oh Mary we've been praying
for a peaceful end
you've been in this bed for years
no sign of waking
and please forgive me now for saying
that I've been a loyal friend
but it seems like my life too is being taken

so now I will send you home,
all the angels to meet
with the true love of a friend in your heart
and a rainbow around your feet
mmmm, mmmmm, and a rainbow 'round your feet

oh Mary I've been knitting
these bright socks to keep you warm
you know it helps to keep my mind
and my hands busy
and all these years that I've been sitting,
you know it doesn't seem that long
since the days when you were often the one giving

oh Mary you were with me
on my wedding day
when I feared it all was happening too quickly
and all those cold nights in my kitchen
when my baby passed away
you said the best thing I could do was go on living

and now my friend it's come down to you
the only precious thing I have left to lose

oh Mary they've decided
it's time to let you go
I don't think my heart has ever felt this quiet
but I know I'll see your smile
at the end of my own road
when my feet have walked
ten thousand lonely miles

Independence Day

Written By: Amanda Lee Birdsall © 2007

I was born a poor girl
on the 4th day of July
Nothing to look up to
but that eagle in the sky

Mama took in laundry
and Daddy hoed a field
We had a little wood shack
with a john out back
and a beat up Oldsmobile

Daddy liked his whiskey,
and Mama loved to dance
Between the booze and the fightin'
and the runnin' 'round at night
Lord I never stood a chance

And it's a long way back to Redbird
If you want to, you can go
If you ask me, you're just wasting your time
But what the hell do I know

I was held by hard hands,
red and cracked as that Colorado dirt
Seems we should've had it better,
long and hard as Mama and Daddy worked

But Josie had a TV
and we watched it late at night
Seein' all the fancy people
doin' fancy things
under them neon lights

Swore that we'd get outta this town
before we turned 18
Just a couple of starry-eyed country girls
in dollar-store blue jeans

And it's a long way back to Redbird
If you want to, you can go
If you ask me, you're just wasting your time
But what the hell do I know

Now I've been waitin' tables,
and I'm still waitin' for my piece of the pie
But it looks like it passed me over,
like that eagle in the sky

Mama calls me up sometimes
and asks me to come home,
Sayin' "Your pop's a sorry shit,
and I've been sick,
and I never felt so alone"

"Baby come home and take care of us,
that's what a daughter's for"
But I got plans,
you gotta take a chance,
And make your own way in this world

And it's a long way back to Redbird
And I have no desire to go
If you ask me, you're just wasting your time
But what the hell do I know

Calling You Home

Written By: Amanda Lee Birdsall © 2007

they tried to warn you
you had to find out
always the one
in the horse’s mouth
how many times
have you walked down this road
I’m on your side
I am calling you home
calling you home

these dreams have burned
a home in your head
you’ve always been
too hard on yourself
I know you’re trying
to make it alone
but I’m on your side
I am calling you home
calling you home

one rainy winter
you’ll turn around
I’ll light a candle
you’ll lay it down
I know it’s hard
to be out on your own
I’m on your side
I am calling you home
calling you home

We Were Never Friends

Written By: Amanda Birdsall

I been keeping the curtains drawn
I been keeping my door shut tight
keep out the heat, keep out the night
and try to keep you off my mind

but so many things were left unsaid
and so these conversations play on & on in my head
sometimes I lose, but the devil always wins
‘cause we were lovers but we were never friends

when you don’t know yourself you have nothing to give
but you took what you could and I was just too weak to resist
regardless of what our intentions may have been
the fact is, we were lovers but we were never friends

oh we could drink, we could dance, we could have a good time
but there never was nothin’ to say without some whiskey and wine
just a primal drive, a hunger to get it while you can
‘cause we were lovers but we were never friends

‘cause I never meant to catch your eye
you just stood in my line of sight
and I can fall for anyone if the circumstance is right
once you’ve been to hell and back a few times
you start to know your way around
but the longer you stay the harder it gets to find your way out

So, I been keeping the curtains drawn
I been keeping my door shut tight
keep out the heat, keep out the night
and try to keep you off my mind

Discography

On the Night You Were Born (2008)
Live at the Main Street Cafe (2005)
Offering (2002)
Birth Trauma (2001)

Set List

All originals. Usually two 45 minute sets, or one long set, depending on venue type.