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This Album Changed My Life: Amy Sheppard On The Chicks’ ‘Wide Open Spaces’

15 September 2022 | 1:02 pm | Mallory Arbour

‘Wide Open Spaces’ was the fourth studio album for The Chicks. Released in 1998, the album is 3x platinum certified in Australia.

Amy Sheppard

Amy Sheppard (Image: Supplied/Georgia Wallace)

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Having launched her musical career as a member of Sheppard which she founded with her brother George in 2009, Amy Sheppard has enjoyed global chart success on numerous occasions. This year, however, sees her going solo for the first time, with Nothing But Wild set to arrive on September 16 as her debut EP. 

Working with a number of impressive songwriters for the EP – including Trannie Anderson, George Sheppard, Jason Bovino, The Wolfe Brothers and Phil Barton, to name a few – it’s a powerful release, and one that means a lot to Amy as a person and an artist.

She’s already released the title track, which peaked at #3 on the Countrytown Hot 50 Country Airplay Chart, and follow up, Blue Guitar, which currently sits at #24 and rising.

With the imminent release of Nothing But Wild, Amy will also be complementing its release with a number of live performances during August, September, and October, including a hometown launch show at Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall on release day. See dates here.


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Amy Sheppard on Wide Open Spaces by The Chicks: 

“As an 8-year-old girl growing in the nineties in Papua New Guinea, rotating the same CDs, a country music obsessed father and dreams of one day being a singer… many albums shaped my life but the album I was most in love with was Wide Open Spaces by The Chicks

 The CD must be completely scratched and unplayable now, that’s how often I would listen to it. I had long loved The Eagles, The Mavericks and Shania Twain, but something about Natalie and the two sisters Martie and Emily captivated me. At the time I understood very little of the lyrics, I just knew I wanted to be them; these were my Spice Girls

I don’t think I knew this was “country” music at the time because it was the vast majority of what we listened to as a family. I would come to learn that not all songs had fiddles, banjos but at that sweet spot of the late 90’s – still to me the best ever era of music – Wide Open Spaces influenced me in ways that I am still discovering. 

The opening bars of There’s Your Trouble would make me grab the nearest hairbrush and live my best life. Natalie Maines’ unmistakable voice is in full flight here; it’s such a fun song! Then there is a ballad I would have sung a million times, You Were Mine. I later discovered this was written by Emily and Martie and obviously I have a much greater appreciation these days about what it means to create music with your own sister. 

The title track Wide Open Spaces would be my favourite track on the album; I am sure that’s true for a lot of people and the reason it’s such a hit. When you’re young, you belt those notes and feel such joy; when you’re older you listen to those lyrics and realise how much you value the idea to get out into the world, to find space to be free, make mistakes and find out who you are. A lot of this message found its way into my own debut single, Nothing But Wild, and I couldn’t be prouder to have been influenced by this magnificent album.”


For more of our This Album Changed My Life series, go here.
And keep up to date with Amy Sheppard on her Facebook page here.