Sierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming Music Album Reviews

The West Virginia native found fame on YouTube, but she descends from a long tradition of American roots music. Though assisted by Nashville greats, her debut retains her essential wildness.

The rambling hobo is a central figure in American folk iconography. Jimmie Rodgers left home at 13 to ride the rails and create his Singing Brakeman persona. Woody Guthrie toured Dust Bowl migrant camps, honing his plainspoken folk music and trenchant socialist politics. Bob Dylan canonized Guthrie with his “Song to Woody” and helped mythologize the traveling folkie with songs like “I Am a Lonesome Hobo.” The broad strokes of Sierra Ferrell’s story place her in the same lineage, with a distinctly modern twist: She got her break by going viral on YouTube.

Ferrell left her West Virginia trailer in her early twenties, after a performance by a troupe of itinerant musicians blew her mind. She hit the busking circuit, performing old standards and her own songs on the streets of New Orleans and Seattle, singing in boxcars and truck stops along the way. In 2017, the Americana tastemaker channel GemsOnVHS started posting videos of Ferrell playing some of her originals, and before long, they were racking up millions of views. The lifestyle that tied her to a century-old folk tradition had suddenly made her famous on the internet. Two of the songs that blew up on YouTube, “In Dreams” and “Jeremiah,” help form the backbone of Long Time Coming, Ferrell’s stunning studio debut. The album versions pay homage to the glittering, big-budget country music of the ’70s, but they retain the essential wildness of Ferrell’s pre-Nashville years.

The most striking element of Long Time Coming is the one that made Ferrell go viral in the first place—her voice. In those YouTube videos, a septum-pierced, face-tatted, cowboy-hatted Ferrell opens her mouth, and a sonorous, stuck-out-of-time drawl comes tumbling out. The contrast may have been the initial hook, but it was that voice that gave the songs their staying power. Ferrell’s singing has clear antecedents—Loretta Lynn’s holler-raised twang, Dolly Parton’s effortless melodiousness, Bessie Smith’s confident rasp—but her nods to those legends always feel heartfelt, never academic. Already, she’s learned to sound only like herself.

Like her classic country forebears, Ferrell’s lyrics weave tales of love found and lost, bonds formed and broken. Even while exploring such well-trodden territory, her honesty shines through. “Whispering Waltz” sees Ferrell betrayed by a lover who talks about another woman in his sleep. She’s heartbroken, until the song’s refrain grants her a hard-won acceptance of the situation: “Now you don’t have to whisper/I know.” The album’s most powerful moments come when Ferrell, now more than a decade removed from her departure from West Virginia, feels the tug of home on her heart. In “West Virginia Waltz,” she returns to her birthplace after years away to try to rekindle a former flame, only to learn that he’s died. “Made Like That” feels more directly autobiographical, with Ferrell apologizing to her mother before tweaking John Denver’s famous lyric about her home state: “West Virginia, country roads/West Virginia, all I know/West Virginia, I’m leaving you today.”

Long Time Coming dips into a range of 20th century musical traditions to help flesh out Ferrell’s songs. “The Sea” sounds like it could be pouring out of a smoky New Orleans jazz club during Prohibition. “Jeremiah” and “Bells of Every Chapel” are agile bluegrass workouts, while “Far Away Across the Sea” and “Why’d Ya Do It” add calypso accents to their sultry acoustic blues. That versatility is thanks in part to the murderer’s row of Nashville session musicians who flank Ferrell on the album. It’s still her show, but the presence of veteran players like Jerry Douglas (Alison Krauss and Union Station) and Dennis Crouch (Johnny Cash) help her material reach its full potential. For someone whose career started in railroad cars and alleyways, the luxuries of a Nashville studio sound great on her.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Sierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming Music Album Reviews Sierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 30, 2021 Rating: 5


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