While working on her doctorate in psychology, halfway through an Adult Psychopathology class, Amanda Birdsall looked down at her notebook to find 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; a Wyoming waitress who finds strength in freedom from her past; 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. She was a finalist in the Minnesota Folk Festival’s New Folk Songwriting Showcase, has interviewed and performed live on NPR, and has shared the stage with Sloan Wainwright, Edie Carey, and Kate McDonnell. She also plays violin and piano in the duo The Orphan Trains.
Amanda currently writes and performs under the stage name Dakota Rose as a member of the duo The Orphan Trains, in which she also plays violin and piano. The Orphan Trains’ debut album On the Night You Were Born is due 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
"She's fantastic." - Don Komara, prizewinning architect
"You'll be convinced that she's the secret niece of Bob Dylan." - Wolff, ArtExpo Miami's Artist of the Millenium
"Amanda... delights audiences... with a style like Joni Mitchell, Birdsall commands attention, displaying depth of tone and expression beyond her years." - Marla Goodman, Indian River Main Library Programming Coordinator