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  • Writer's pictureCurious Fan

Sierra Ferrell/The Avett Brothers - Westville Music Bowl - 5/21/24

Heady stuff from reigning Americana queen Sierra Ferrell at the Westville Bowl. I had to pull myself away from a great tailgate so as not to miss a note. She had just come off a solo run selling out venues before jumping in with the Avetts as an opener. Sierra was recently nominated for song (American Dreaming) and album of the year (Trail of Flowers) in the Americana genre. Everyone wants to play with her, and she's constantly on tour - perhaps the inspiration for "American Dreaming"

Wake up again in an old motel

Is it somewhere different?

I can't tell

Every set of curtains opens to the open road

Taking advantage of my floor seat, I went right to the front of the seated section while the sun was still out. While it's easy to get distracted by her stage costume and style, the substance of her singing, playing, and writing is the star of her show. Highlights of the set were the new songs "Dollar Bill Bar", "I Can Drive You Crazy", "Fox Hunt", and the powerful "American Dreaming" - The song began with Sierra singing solo, and finished with a powerful jam.

Being so close to this superstar talent made the night for me before the evening's headliner stepped on stage. Go see her live, listen to the album. She's a star.

With new albums come new bursts of creativity, and the Avett Brothers were clearly feeling that same artistic surge that Sierra was bringing. The brothers themselves are so gracious and humble, funny and poignant. The Avetts are known for their variety of styles, and their ability to convey emotions through song.

Their self-titled new album (after 15 years together!) has several new tunes that I was looking forward to hearing live for the first time - "County Kid", "Love of a Girl" and "Orions Belt" that fit right into their setlist classics, many of them reworked for this tour. "Laundry Room" still gives me the chills every time I hear it. To me, "I Wish I Was" is one of the most romantic songs I've ever heard, and this version was particularly beautiful.

I wish I was a tune you sang in your kitchen

Putting your groceries away and washing your dishes

I could float around your tongue and ease the tension

And then when you were done you'd just quiet down

Although I was hoping Sierra might join them on stage, it seemed their guest slot was already taken. Scott and Seth took turns explaining their early years in the band, and an early critique calling them "Muppets" which they took as a compliment. So for this tour, the Avett puppets sat in for a few tunes.

As the moon rose high, the band encored with a fantastic cover of David Childers and the Modern Don Juans "The Prettiest Thing", before closing with the devastating "No Hard Feelings".

Walking out of the venue, I was aware that it was the first great music night of the summer.

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