Sierra Ferrell with The Cactus Blossoms at the Ogden Theatre in Denver, CO on 04/23/23

Sierra Ferrell all 📷 by Old Guy at the Show

Strolling up to the Ogden Theatre, I noticed a woman walking out of a tour bus. She was wearing a Sierra Ferrell t-shirt. Before I realized that it was actually Sierra Ferrell, the singer was already inside the venue (she missed out on an exciting opportunity to take a selfie with me). I waited in line for the doors to open on the infamous East Colfax Avenue passing time watching drug deals take place across the street. The uncomfortable wait was worth it, I found a prime spot to witness Ferrell step on stage transformed into a fancy dress, sparkly makeup, and hair adorned with flowers. 

Leaving her West Virginia home in her early twenties, Ferrell busked in Seattle and New Orleans where she found her unique sound (a combination of country, jazz, and gypsy elements that brings the listener back to another era). When she moved to Nashville, Ferrell was signed to Rounder Records.

Her first major label album entitled Long Time Coming was released in 2021. She has been on the road playing the material for so long, Ferrell referred to her tour as “The Long Time Going Tour.” Much of the crowd knew every word of the record’s songs. At the end of West Virginia Waltz, she encouraged the crowd to finish the tune. The audience happily complied by singing loudly.

Oliver Bates Craven, Joshua Rilko, Sierra Ferrell, and Geoff Saunders

Wearing similar wide brimmed hats and understated clothes, guitar/fiddle player Oliver Bates Craven, bassist Geoff Saunders, and mandolin player Joshua Rilko let Farrell shine visually and musically. Instead of hiding behind their instruments, the musicians were up front, harmonizing and at times even dancing. There was only one acoustic guitar played by almost everyone in the band. When it was being tuned, Ferrell wondered what it would be like to have another guitar just ready to be played.

Some of the most compelling songs from the setlist were the new tunes. The heartbreaking Why Haven’t You Loved Me Yet, the self-proclaimed Jimmy Buffett tune Dollar Bill Bar, and the symbolic The Garden will be stand outs on the next record.

Ferrell instructed the audience how to dance to her whimsical tune At the End of the Rainbow. I will never listen to the song again without breaking out the moves. Farrell came back for an encore with Willie Nelson’s Seven Spanish Angles in honor of his upcoming 90th birthday. She told the crowd that she will be back. Someone in the crowd responded, “We’ll be here.”

Show Summary # 192
The Cactus Blossoms

The Cactus Blossoms from Minneapolis, Minnesota were the openers. Brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum only joined the tour for the Boulder and Denver shows. Instead of the whole band, The Cactus Blossoms performed as a duo. They joked, “It’s not usually just two guys playing guitars. It’s usually five guys playing guitars.” Despite people talking during their set, The Cactus Blossoms mesmerized most of the crowd with their Everly Brothers like harmonies and haunting melodies. When someone demanded that they play Powder Blue, the brothers responded that they took it off their setlist because the Boulder crowd from the previous night, “Could not get down with it.” They granted the request by singing the melancholy song. The Denver crowd was definitely down with it.

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one with hair adorned with flowers showing you how to do a rainbow dance.

2 replies »

  1. Isn’t she just the best? I saw her perform twice and met her both times.
    I discovered her music around 2019, and went down the rabbit hole with all the YouTube videos. Two weeks later she was playing at a small bar in Kingston, NY, for a mere $10. It was just Sierra and Nate Leath, before she had the full band. It was an incredible show.

    Liked by 1 person

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