Kick Your Boots Up: Sierra Ferrell’s Rounder Debut Is Coming
Many folks have been feverishly awaiting news on when the debut album from gypsy jazz Appalachian folk phenom Sierra Ferrell would finally emerge after signing to Rounder Records in 2019. Well now we’ve been made aware the album will be arriving on August 20th, and it’s appropriately titled Long Time Coming. It also is fair to consider it as one of the most anticipated releases in roots music for the rest of this year.
Co-produced by 10-time Grammy Award-winner Gary Paczosa and Australian musician Stu Hibberd, Long Time Coming was recorded at Nashville’s Southern Ground and Minutia Studios, and finds the nexus between ragtime jazz, bluegrass mountain music, and classic country. Helping Sierra Ferrell along the way was a serious cadre of musicians including Billy Strings, Sarah Jarosz, Dennis Crouch, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Chris Scruggs, and Rory Hoffman.
Originally from Charleston, West Virginia, Sierra started singing at the age of 7, left home in her 20’s to become a wandering minstrel playing in boxcars and at truck stops, later busking on the streets of New Orleans and Washington State before eventually landing in Nashville.
“I met all these homeless kids who were traveling all over the place and playing amazing old songs, and I wanted to be a part of that,” says Ferrell. “The music they were making was so honest, so pure. It seemed important to bring that kind of music back, and it’s been with me ever since.”
Sierra Ferrell released two favorably-received singles ahead of the album previously—“Why’d Ya Do It” and “Jeremiah.” Accompanying the announcement of the new album, she’s released another new track and accompanying video called “The Sea.”
“I wrote ‘The Sea’ to express my love for the ocean and the mysteries it possesses,” she says. “The song came to me while I was living out of my van in Port Townsend, WA. The beach quickly became one of my favorite places. I would walk there every day and look for items that had washed ashore.”
Though still considered a newcomer, Sierra has been garnering incredible attention over the last few years, with live videos racking up millions of views, and a strong fan base built solely from the marvel of her voice, presentation, and personality. A rare bird and a unique artist, she instills a dose of vibrancy and intrigue wherever she appears.
- The Sea (Sierra Ferrell)
- Jeremiah (Sierra Ferrell)
- Bells of Every Chapel (Sierra Ferrell – Oliver Bates Craven)
- At The End Of The Rainbow (Sierra Ferrell – Nate Leath)
- West Virginia Waltz (Sierra Ferrell – Nate Leath)
- Silver Dollar (Sierra Ferrell – Nate Leath)
- Far Away Across the Sea (Sierra Ferrell)
- Why’d Ya Do It (Sierra Ferrell)
- Give It Time (Sierra Ferrell)
- In Dreams (Sierra Ferrell)
- Made Like That (Sierra Ferrell)
- Whispering Waltz (Sierra Ferrell – Oliver Bates Craven)
June 2, 2021 @ 6:44 pm
Sierra Ferrell is the real damn deal. Y’all need to pay attention.
June 2, 2021 @ 6:45 pm
The Sea – Total Dark Lady, Cher vibe.
June 2, 2021 @ 6:53 pm
The best singer out there. By a mile. I hope this album does her justice.
June 2, 2021 @ 7:31 pm
Damn I hope the label doesn’t ruin her… …and please…someone keep Cobb away from her…
June 2, 2021 @ 8:58 pm
Yep. She sounds great singing and playing on a porch, with no electronic patina applied. She does not need the Joe Dirt Plymouth Superbird treatment.
June 3, 2021 @ 6:01 am
Amen, Sam and Creekrat.
June 2, 2021 @ 9:21 pm
Pass. I can’t handle that mush mouth singing style that so many women are doing now
June 2, 2021 @ 10:08 pm
Sierra’s voice is unique tho, and I love it. I haven’t heard anyone else with this type of voice, so please indulge me so I can find these gems?
June 2, 2021 @ 10:16 pm
If you like Sierra’s voice and style, definitely check out Melissa Carper’s new album “Daddy’s Country Gold” if you haven’t.
June 3, 2021 @ 6:38 am
I like Melissa’s new album, and she does have a good voice. She doesn’t quite have Sierra’s spark and personality, but good comparison.
June 3, 2021 @ 7:55 am
Melissa Carper’s new album is INCREDIBLE! Ya’ll need to check it out . . . .
June 3, 2021 @ 3:44 pm
Melissa Carper does the same exact mush mouth little girl jazz voice thing. I can’t stand that affectation. They’re both incredible musicians but I wish they didn’t do whatever the hell that shit is. I think it comes from some kind of jazz?
There are some AMAZING clips on YouTube by Sierra where she’s not doing that, and holy shit she has an incredible voice when she’s not putting that fake lisp affectation on top of it
June 2, 2021 @ 9:55 pm
She’s got such a heavenly voice. I’ve been following her for a few years now and everything she’s done is fantastic. Her material up on Bandcamp is priceless. This no doubt will be one of the best releases this year.
June 3, 2021 @ 4:38 am
I love the story, but not the music. I want to, but I just can’t! I hope enough people do enjoy it so she can be successful; she seems cool as hell!
June 3, 2021 @ 5:49 am
This is a hard pass for me and I normally feverishly support anything Appalachian. It’s just not for me, not my style.
June 3, 2021 @ 8:49 am
Understood. The “gypsy jazz” vocal style is very cartoon sounding and certainly forced. Kinda reminds me of the Elle King vocal style and im hearing this type of singing on tv commercials and in various Americana acts. Its kind of a fad at the moment. The style is neither country or bluegrass in origin or nature. Its unique though. Its kinda like a 1920s sassy jazz club thing.
All that said, i love the musicians on this record and im stoked Rory Hoffman is on there. Hes a current favorite of mine whos pretty active in the live music scene in Nashville. Killer guitar player, mandolin picker, accordian, and well..anything he puts his mind to. And Scruggs and Douglas are great as well. Dont know if the whole album is gypsy jazz style or not. Who knows, maybe her vocals will grow on me…
June 3, 2021 @ 12:19 pm
Love you brother but disagree. There are different styles of singing, period. All can be legit because people feel things differently. You can tell when singers are just doing affected bullsh*t and when they’re really living it. I think singers today can really feel the 20s thing. We’ve been in a rut for thirty years. It’s time for a change.
The Tin Pan Alley crowd had one thing that 99% of singers and musicians today lack: “wit,” and a sense of humor. Jimmie Rodgers had it. So did Loretta. Dolly has it. Moonpies, too. Lund. Others.
June 3, 2021 @ 12:22 pm
Gypsy jazz influence is a 100% positive. Time for a change. One thing 99% music today lacks is “wit.” Think Jimmie Rodgers, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn. So many others.
June 3, 2021 @ 10:27 pm
“gypsy jazz” is a real genre and it has absolutely nothing to do with this singing style. I think somebody’s mixing up ideas here.
Gypsy Jazz is Django Reinhardt and the only time there was vocal on it it was straight ahead 1940s swing pop vocal.
Gypsy music around the world is usually belting forceful singing, usually because they were singing against a loud band.
This lispy stuff is something else entirely, It doesn’t have anything to do with gypsies.
June 3, 2021 @ 10:43 pm
When myself or others have used either the term “gypsy” or “jazz” to refer to Sierra Ferrell’s music, it’s not necessarily a descriptor of her voice, but the phrasing and style of her music. There is definitely a Django Reinhardt influence to it.
I can understand if Sierra’s voice is not for everyone. But having seen her live three separate times, seen her talk, talk to others in her orbit, there is nothing put-on or affected about her voice. Perhaps it’s a bit stylized, but when she rears back to sing, one of the astounding things about Sierra is how natural and effortless it all is.
I think there’s a lot of opinions being drawn here from small sample sizes and assumptions, and when a lot of praise is flowing to an artist, and extra layer of scrutiny is also applied, which is understandable, and fair. Let’s wait for the album to come out though, and draw our ultimate conclusions from that.
June 4, 2021 @ 8:45 am
Agreed. Django and The Hot Club of the Quintet of France is the touchstone of the style, and it was an instrumental thing. In more modern times the band Hot Club of Cowtown as well as John Jorgenson have dabbled in it. Im sure theres other modern bands who play the atyle. Ive got nothing against it, just hasnt grabbed me, necessarily. The Sierra vocal does sound 20s to my ear though.
June 3, 2021 @ 6:27 am
I have been following Sierra for awhile on Instagram. I was originally drawn to her for her quirky and funny posts. I have enjoyed her song posts and downloaded her singles and some of her Bandcamp stuff. It will be interesting to see how she transforms from independent artist no one knows about to the star she will most likely become from the pre-release hype. Or if her full length debut album will live up to the expectations. She seems to be a genuine person and her fans are loyal and love her. I hope the album is all she and we hope it is.
June 3, 2021 @ 7:53 am
I really like Sierra’s playing and singing on her own but add those bluegrass names and Chris Scruggs and this has me pretty excited. Just went to her Bandcamp page and the vinyl pre-sale was already sold out. I checked Amazon and was able to pre-order there, but I’ve done that before just to get an email a week later that the product is not available. Hopefully she does a second pressing with how successful this looks like it will be.
June 3, 2021 @ 8:28 am
…actually just cancelled the Amazon order and got the signed cannabundle from her website, haha. I’ve seen in the past Sturgill had some grinders, and I think Daniel Donato had some papers or something. I guess that’s the new hip thing for some bands to do. Kind of gimmicky, but fun nonetheless.
June 3, 2021 @ 8:55 am
There is an extreme shortage on vinyl at the moment that is only getting worse as time goes on. Most titles aren’t getting their vinyl release until months after the official release, and sometimes they only can get a limited run of 1,000 or 2,500, and then they have to do a second order and get pushed to the end of the line. It’s really starting to become a big problem, especially since this is such an important revenue stream for independent artists, and a way they can draw attention to themselves with physical sales.
June 3, 2021 @ 7:59 am
After a couple spins I love Jeremiah and Why’d Ya Do It. I know The Sea’s retro jazzy vibe will grow on me. Yeah if this album is more like the first 2 it will get more than a fair shake around here.
June 3, 2021 @ 8:40 am
”gypsy jazz Appalachian folk ”
well exactly . how often in this musical climate do we hear anything that REALLY sounds so trend-buckingly ORIGINAL ?
the songs?…hmm ?….but the sound and the vibe ….WOW ! I feel as though I’m watching a David Lynch movie . I can’t turn my eyes or ears away and I’m not sure why . and that’s WAY more than I can say about most of what I hear in the mainstream . Inspiration and artistry is all but forgotten in that camp .
June 3, 2021 @ 8:55 am
For the people saying its not for them, I’d recommend going and watching her Stanley Brothers cover on youtube she uploaded about a week ago, or any live video for that matter, she’s so fun! Her style has no bounds and she can take whatever influences her and still make it her own. Excited to see her in Pendleton, Oregon later this month as she’s one of my growing favorites over this last year.
June 3, 2021 @ 11:16 am
I wish she wasn’t the only one I give a shit about playing in Pendleton that day…but hell, I might go anyway…and just hope I don’t accidentally hear the son of a late-great musician making some racket…
June 3, 2021 @ 12:39 pm
I was driving down from Washington regardless to catch my buddy Jesse, but seeing her will be awesome as well. Especially with the west coast being on lockdown still, I can’t wait for some live music.
June 3, 2021 @ 3:52 pm
Yep. I didn’t like her voice until I heard that Stanley Brothers cover that she doesn’t kind of an Aretha Franklin style.
June 3, 2021 @ 5:25 pm
Already loved Jeremiah, but thanks for suggesting this Stanley Brothers cover! Really good!
June 3, 2021 @ 12:10 pm
Sierra Ferrell is a kind of country version of Janet Klein, an SFer who sings dead-ringer versions of 1920s novelty songs, if I remember correctly. But Ferrell writes her own material, and she seems to believe in it. It’s not kitsch but some kind of something-else.
I like her despite the weaner ring and tattoos. Ferrell plays and writes. Her musicians are good. I hope she has more to say than veiled political guff. Talent like hers shouldn’t have to reduce itself to a political project to be meaningful. Melissa Carper tries to walk that line and does it pretty well. The double entendres on her record are a little eye-rolling, and her off-rhymes often come across as just couldn’t-be-bothered. Whatever. It’s a great-sounding record, too. Two corncobs up for her.
If she wants, Sierra Ferrell can tell us about life. I’ll be listening, anyway. YMMV.
June 3, 2021 @ 12:43 pm
Sounds like a song played on “Creepshow” or “Black Mirror.” I don’t hate the song. I would never place it beside my Loretta, Tammy, Lorrie, Tanya,…nay, nay. I want a woman that sings & I know what genre it is.
June 19, 2021 @ 10:35 pm
Long time lingerer, first time commenter; but I want to thank you so much for doing what you do. You’ve shined light on so many artists that I would’ve never heard of…I’m addicted to Sierra Ferrell. Charles Wesley Godwin is so good…Ian Noe as well and so many others I would’ve never discovered if it weren’t for you. You do such a great job of covering music
June 20, 2021 @ 6:50 am
Thanks for reading Josh.