Sierra Ferrell “Long Time Coming”

Rounder Records, 2021

Sierra Ferrell has been a long time coming for Nashville.

Describing herself as a “Gypsy tornado”, West Virginia born singer-songwriter has collaborated with a team of some of the best guest musicians to bring out Nashville’s best album in decades.

After self-releasing her debut album, ‘Pretty Magic Spell‘ in 2018 and ‘Washington by the Sea‘ in 2019, Ferrell signed a three-album deal with Rounder Records, and the result is ‘Long Time Coming‘. Ferrell has been supported splendidly by Rounder. She has access to some of Nashville’s finest session musicians, including Billy Strings, Sarah Jarosz, Dennis Crouch, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Chris Scruggs, Rory Hoffman, and 10-time Grammy Award-winner Gary Paczosa recorded the album. Indeed ‘Long Time Coming‘ was recorded at the same studio as Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s ‘Raising Sand‘.

Opening track and single ‘The Sea’ sets the tone for the unusual from the first note from the pedal steel, which sounds like a saw. Throughout the track, a gypsy-swing triumph, noises from children’s toys are played along with upright bass and fiddle. This is immediately followed by an old-time banjo number ‘Old Jeremiah‘, which explains to the listener that this collection will be eclectic.

Bells of Every Chapel‘ showcases some of the most proficient musicianship that Nashville has to offer, and if you like the old-timey fiddle and guitar picking then this song is for you.

Just as the listener gets into a groove with the record single ‘In Dreams’ twangs out modal chords not used this side of China and certainly not in simple country songs, yet a simple country song is what it is. From the opening lyric to the last word, Ferrell’s voice is a rare delight, both rough and honeyed at the same time; even without the grammy award-winning session musicians, she would be worth listening to solo. The songwriting stays pleasingly classic and traditional, with lyrics about broken hearts and roads back home.

Nashville has been under scrutiny in recent times for turning away from its tradition of showcasing rootsy music and becoming like a Southern tin-pan alley. ‘Long Time Coming‘ bucks this trend and shows Nashville returning to what it does best: supporting hill-billy music and bringing it to a wider audience. In the digital age, this is Everyone, and it’s an exciting turn.

9/10
9/10

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