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The Country Heart and Jazz Mind of Sierra Ferrell

Sierra Ferrell Skunkfest.jfif
Joe Kendrick
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Sierra Ferrell with Boston in the green room at Albino Skunk Music Festival 05-15-21

Joe Kendrick had an opportunity to meet and interview Sierra Ferrell at the Albino Skunk Music Festival "SpringSkunk" in May. Listen here to the full podcast episode. The music and conversation are lively and free-spirited, and hint at greater things to come in a moment when Sierra is already emerging as a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist to be celebrated. You'll also hear many songs that Sierra Ferrell and her band played at the festival as well, which include several from her new collection.

Sierra Ferrell Boston dog.jfif
Joe Kendrick
Boston, the elderly, blind and allergic Boston Terrier who practically stole the show

Meeting Sierra Ferrell was nothing like I expected. The scene was somewhere backstage at the Albino Skunk Music Festival this spring, and in her orbit were several new faces, one of whom was holding an elderly Boston Terrier. As I would soon find out, it was Jeremiah Jenkins whose main gig is booking Red Wing Roots Music Festival in Virginia who was holding onto the pup named, appropriately enough, Boston. However, it was not his dog. Sierra Ferrell had brought Boston, but Boston was not her dog either. She was just taking care of him for a friend by bringing him to South Carolina where the air would be better for his allergies, and holding him a lot — or in this case, getting someone like Jeremiah to do the holding. Before long many people came to know Boston, and a charming, eccentric story within the larger charming eccentricities of the festival itself was born. It seemed that almost as many people knew of Boston as there were those who got to experience the magnetic set of western swing, golden era country and fiery originals from Sierra and her band.

After her performance, she stayed through the next day to catch more of the music, which was when we took time to talk. Here, she tells us about her long awaited album debut on Rounder, titled (you guessed it) Long Time Coming, her musical upbringing and early, more rocking tastes, her new band, how the forests of her native West Virginia can be heard in her songs, and more. Many songs that Sierra Ferrell and her band played at the festival are here as well, which include several from her new collection. The music and conversation are lively and free-spirited, and hint at greater things to come in a moment when Sierra is already emerging as a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist to be celebrated.

Long Time Coming album art.jpg
Sierra Ferrell’s Rounder Records debut "Long Time Coming" will be out August 20

Songs heard in this episode:

“Lonesome Woman Blues” by Sierra Ferrell live at Albino Skunk Festival 05/14/21

“I’d Do It Again” by Sierra Ferrell, live at Albino Skunk Festival 05/14/21, excerpt

“T For Texas” by Sierra Ferrell, live at Albino Skunk Festival 05/14/21, excerpt

“Whispering Waltz” by Sierra Ferrell, live at Albino Skunk Music Festival 05/14/21, excerpt

“Why’d Ya Do It” by Sierra Ferrell, live at Albino Skunk Festival 05/14/21, excerpt

“In Dreams” by Sierra Ferrell, live at Albino Skunk Music Festival 05/14/21

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Joe Kendrick grew up far off in the woods at in rural Stanfield, NC, where he acquired his first Sony Walkman, listened to both AM and FM radio from Charlotte, went to Nascar races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, attended a small Baptist church, read Rolling Stone, subscribed to cassette clubs, and played one very forgettable season of high school football. From there, Joe studied Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was able to fulfill his dream of being a disc jockey at WXYC. He volunteered at WNCW soon after graduation.