Little Orange Room Sessions is a one-take, one-shot, “living-room”-style performance video series recorded in Eugene, Oregon. Each two-song session is recorded in the 125 square feet that I use for mixing, producing, and sometimes even recording entire albums. Little Orange Room Sessions grew out of my crazy love of music and mixing, a growing curiosity about film and cameras, and a deep-seated passion for performance and the art of song.
*photo by Monica Murray
Session #18: Sierra Ferrell
Sierra Ferrell is a singer/songwriter based out of Nashville by way of West Virginia. Her music is a “jingle-jangling gypsy tornado of sound…” conjuring the old-time musical spirits and calling on everything from country to bluegrass and jazz. NPR named her one of the best new artists playing AmericanaFest in 2019 and she was named one of The Boot’s 2020 artists to watch. She recently signed a recording contract with Rounder Records. Sierra was joined by Nate Leath on fiddle this past February while on tour supporting Dylan DeBlanc and performed two new and unreleased songs, “New West Virginia Waltz” and “Bells of Every Chapel.” Sierra recently took the time to answer some questions via email.
*In light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic I decided it would be appropriate to include Venmo and Paypal information (with consent of the artist) for any fans/viewers who would like to leave a tip. Our hard working songwriters and musicians are taking quite a hit right now and any little bit helps. Thank you.
LORS: While you and Nate were in town we talked a little bit about the new album you’re working on, which will be your debut on Rounder Records. I felt a lot of excitement from you and Nate while talking about it. Is there anything you can let your fans know about how that process has been and/or is currently going?
SF: It felt like it took a long time to get started but once we finally did, it only took 3 days in the studio to get 13 songs down! We recorded at Southern Ground in downtown Nashville. Gary Paczosa & Stu Hibberd produced the record and a bunch of top of the line players contributed: Rory Hoffman, Nate Leath, Dennis Crouch, Chris Scruggs, Matty Meyers. Got some real fine special guests too but I’ll save the surprises. I’m not sure when it will be released with all the madness in the world at the moment, but we’re working up at least two songs for an EP this year. Honestly, I don’t see a big release till 2021. With touring not happening for a while, it just makes sense. I’m honored to be a part of this new project and am excited to see what the future holds.
LORS: What does the writing process look like for you? I read in an interview that you wrote a song every day or at least sat down to write something every day. Though I can’t seem to find that article now so maybe I’m starting rumors.
SF: That’s definitely the goal! I’m easily distracted so it normally doesn’t happen that way. Writing a song is more of a process for me. Sometimes it takes lots of play with melodies and chord changes – it could take a day, a week, month(s)…heck, even sometimes years! My songs are always changing which can be annoying to folks in my band who are trying to learn them. Promise, I’m just made like that.
LORS: I know a lot of writers whose writing tends to thrive on the road – an easy place to observe various people and interactions, new scenery, lots of downtime to let your thoughts collect, etc. How has your creative space been since everything sort of shut down in mid-March? I’ve wondered if subject matter would maybe shift more inward in a static time like this or if you’ve found yourself approaching songs differently.
SF: I had a lot of health issues which didn’t make things easier but I’m blessed and thankful to be where I am now. I’ve been riding bicycles a lot these days – never saw that coming! I can’t wait to get back out on the road once things are better and safer. Singing to the people is my favorite thing in the world.
LORS: Guy Clark sings, “Some days you write the song / some days the song writes you.” Which line best describes you?
SF: I’d say both! Each day is a new day with new feelings. The mind is a whimsical device.
LORS: Any music you’re listening to (old or new) that I should put in my ear holes? Or any good books you’re currently reading or just finished?
SF: I’ve been listening to a lot of music from my teenage years and early 20s. Also Neil Young, The Kinks, Ella Fitzgerald, The Boswell Sisters. One of my favorite Nashville born and raised singer-songwriters is Timbo. Check him out!