Amy Shoemaker paints beautiful songs with her colorful lyrics, and blends musical genres together as a performing singer-songwriter, vocalist and musician.  With a background in theatre including MFAs in Acting and Directing, it’s no wonder that she inspires collaboration, bringing that familiar sense of playfulness and stage presence to the concert hall. 

Her compositions have been performed at Chicago’s Symphony Center. She has performed across the US, Ireland, and Canada with several bands ranging in Irish repertoire to Indie Americana. Performance highlights in the Chicago area include Pick-Staiger Concert Hall and a residency at SPACE in Evanston.

Amy picked up guitar as a teenager playing folk songs, then wrote her own funny, personal songs with sincere lyrics. While attending college she was hooked by theatre and directing and  "loved every minute of it."  After graduating, she went to a campout and a music circle formed. “I had brought my guitar. [Making music with people in the moment] was the holy grail. That [spark of collaboration is what I searched for] for decades." It is what led to her first band, The Rolling Mothers:

“At a picnic on a Sunday afternoon in Tallahassee, there was a two-person band performing a couple of songs. I joined them and stayed for 10 years. We developed a fan base and an established indie reputation. I wrote songs and had friends who could sing harmony with me. Having a bandit was such a heady feeling. I loved performing, and having my bandmates to hang out with, to dream with, to laugh with, was amazing.”

The Rolling Mothers

After receiving her MFA in Directing in Tallahassee, she returned to Chicago where she had visited while on an internship at Goodman Theatre. She explored the music scene and fell in love with the city. For a short time, she tried to navigate auditions and head shots in the thriving Chicago theatre scenebut found the thrill of performance with music was more immediate.  “I could play music anytime I wanted. I could go to open mics and actually perform in public. And that’s how I became a working musician.”

Her shows feature her songwriting and vocals as well as collaboration and community. She has performed in bands including Ladies View, Fizgig, Earl Fly, The Shoemakers, The Sweet Maries, and Amy and the Rhinos, at Chicago venues including Uncommon Ground, the former Mayne Stage, Heartland Cafe, Tonic Room, The Shed, plus Fitzgerald's Sidebar, Kaffein, Chimera Loft and more. 

Building on her stage prowess, evolution brings Amy to the studio. Producer Jeffrey Wood (Producer of Tall Trees & Riverbeds EP by The Sweet Maries) guided Amy's sonic journey on her debut album under her name, Show and Tell (2024).  Learn more here. Amy also plays piano and bouzouki (a lute of Greek origin), and is a visual artist.