Cornbread Cafe #15: Sierra Ferrell

Hear our long-awaited conversation with brilliant songwriter and spellbinding performer Sierra Ferrell — who is the. real. deal.

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #15 of the Cornbread Cafe, located at the five-corners of Americana, Blues, Country, Folk, and Gospel.  And sometimes you can catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way.

I am, of course, your host, the mongrel, a.k.a. Jay Vee, and I am deeeeelighted to have you with me for what’s going to be an amazing show.

In addition to just a truckload of amazing American Roots tunes, I have for you portions of my long awaited conversation with Sierra Ferrell — who is the. real. deal. A brilliant songwriter, she plucks stories from her heart and her lived experience in a way that will make sure you don’t likely forget her music any time soon.

Featured in this Episode:

Erin Gibney • “Boys Think” • single
The Rightly So • “Not Coming Home” • Vandura
Sierra Ferrell • “The Sea” • Washington by the Sea
Sierra Ferrell • “I’ll Come off the Mountain” • Washington by the Sea
Brianna Nelson • “Golden Silhouette” • single
Tiffany Thompson • “Human Life” • single
Darby O. Bell • “Hold On” • Away It Falls

Because this is such a jam-packed episode, I’ll keep my chatter to a minimum. In fact, let’s get to some tunes right now. 

Erin Gibney, "Boys Think"
Erin Gibney; submitted photo.

We’ll hear from Buffalo NY-based Americana/Folk duo The Rightly So, with “Not Coming Home” from their most recent release, “Vandura.” I’ll have more to say about this act on a future show, because the whole album feels like an old comfortable sweater you thought you’d lost, but for now, we’ll be satisfied with a tune. 

First though, opening the show today is an artist who showed up on our radar through our partnership with ReverbNation, the web’s premier discovery and promotions platform. ReverbNation believes that DIY shouldn’t mean you’re all alone. Artists really can build their career with ReverbNation’s easy-to-use services and exclusive industry access. Which is exactly how I came across Erin Gibney, who’s recent alt-country single, “Boys Think,” comes on the heels of her well-received 2018 EP Bold. Let’s hear that right now, right here on the Cornbread Cafe.

 The Rightly So, “Not Coming Home”
The Rightly So; photo by Haley McLain Photography

That’s Gregory Zeis and Jess Chizuk, performing as The Rightly So. I don’t know if you hear what I hear in Zeis’ voice, but I think they simply MUST cover some early John Denver on their next album.

Now, I’m so thrilled to bring you the conversation I had with Sierra Ferrell, a soulful genius with a once-in-a-generation gift for conjuring both bright or shadowy works that long haunt the ear and pleasantly disorient the mind. Let’s set the tone for our talk with “The Sea,” off 2019’s Washington by the Sea.

“That was, per Sierra’s own suggestion, “I’ll Come off the Mountain,” also from Washington by the Sea.

Sierra Ferrell and her musical co-conspiratorm Nate Leath; photo by Harris.
Sierra Ferrell & Nate Leath; photo by Harris.

I have to tell you, I’ve done several hundred interviews, and I’ve enjoyed them all. Every once in a great while though, I get the chance to speak with someone who’s so open and so honest and seems a real kindred spirit and I actually forget here and there that the conversation is for a podcast…you know, as part of my job? And then I almost feel kind of possessive about it, like, wait a minute, do I have to share that with everybody listening? And, of course, that’s when I know I’ve just captured a classic interview to file, and so, yeah, I’m going to share it. But still…

 Brianna Nelson, “Golden Silhouette”
Brianna Nelson; submitted photo.

So, I’d like to think you’d have gotten your money’s worth if I ended the show right there, BUT we still have the dessert course to follow that hearty entrée. 

We’ll kick off this set with “Golden Silhouette,” by Brianna Nelson, another artist who came to my attention via ReverbNation.  At the age of fifteen, she was cast for Season 6 of NBC’s The Voice. Like many artists, her performance schedule has been impacted by the pandemic, but my latest intel places her as a student at Berklee College of Music, studying songwriting and vocal performance, so may be as venues open up, you can catch her perform in and around Boston this fall. 

 Tiffany Thompson, “Human Life”
Tiffany Thompson; photo by Jen Eun.

New York City–based musician Tiffany Thompson brings us “Human Life,” which was written for the women at Willow International in Uganda. Willow International benefits survivors of the human trafficking trade and is an organization near and dear to Tiffany’s heart. All proceeds from the song will be donated to Willow International

Indiana native Darby O. Bell wraps up this episode with the very inspirational “Hold On” from 2018’s Away It Falls. She’s performed and taught all over the world in such as countries as Germany, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Japan, Scotland, Ireland, England, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Africa, and all over the United States. Darby acts and dances as well, and, like many artists, will be eager to fill up her calendar when venues start booking again.

 Darby O. Bell, “Hold On”
Darby O. Bell; submitted photo.

Right now though, let’s have a listen to Brianna Nelson and “Golden Silhouette.”

Well, we have heard just a tremendous collection of gorgeous voices this episode, including that last one belonging to Darby O. Bell. All of them so unique and memorable, too. That’s one of the traits we strive to include here on the Cornbread Cafe. You can always listen through the website of course, but you can order us up to-go also via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or through a quality podcatcher, like Downcast. Subscribe now and listen whenever you want. 

Again, thanks for listening, . Take care.

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