Sierra Ferrell, Tiara and Andrew, Leah Marlene & Gnawing: The Week’s RVA Mag Sound Check

by | May 8, 2023 | COUNTRY, ALT COUNTRY, FOLK & BLUES, EDM, RAVE & EXPERIMENTAL, MUSIC, REGGAE & JAM, ROCK & INDIE

As Richmond slowly emerges into the Summer, music lovers are going to be constantly inundated with shows, releases, festivals, and all things live music. Every weekend for the next two months Richmonders will have a Friday Cheers to attend, new music every Friday or Saturday from local groups, not to mention all the other bands that are making their way through Richmond on the extensive tours that are taking them around the world. On this week’s SOUND CHECK we’ll dive into a stacked week of Richmond music for what is only the start of a packed summer. If you’ve got new music, press releases, or suggestions, drop a line to Bones at bones@rvamag.com

FRIDAY CHEERS

CHRIS LEGGETT AND THE COPPER LINE & SIERRA FERRELL

It’s always exciting to see a local musician get the recognition they deserve in opening up for a major touring act. This week, Friday May 12th at 6:30 PM during Friday Cheers’ second week, Richmond musician Chris Leggett is opening up for major recording artist Sierra Ferrell, and it’s hard to think of a better pairing. Both artists draw from southern influences, with Ferrell being from West Virginia and Leggett being born and raised right here, the feeling of americana shines through in both artists work, but Ferrell has been diving into a bit of a more varied catalog recently. Leggett and his band The Copper Line put out their first album last year, 

Ferrell’s early singles were heavily steeped in the Nashville country tradition, the city that she now calls home, with jangly guitars, dreamy pedal steels and fiddles galore; her sound was good old fashioned country through and through. In early 2018 she released a single “Pretty Magic Spell” that signaled a bit of a shift for the developing artist, as it began to lean heavily into Romani Jazz (think Django Reinhardt), she seemingly learned how to play the saw, and then in November of 2018 she doubled down and put out an album called Pretty Magic Woman that heavily featured the style, but still clinging to her country roots.. In April of the next year she quickly released another album, Washington by the Sea, much to the same tune.

By the time she got to her big budget record label recording she was tested and ready to go. Long Time Coming is a powerhouse of an album featuring 12 absolutely killer tracks that I’ve had on repeat for months since I first covered her in our Friday Cheers announcement article back in March. This is a day of music that you’re not going to want to miss, so make Friday Cheers your Friday night plans for this weekend.

My favorite tracks from Long Time Coming by Sierra Ferrell

  • “At The End Of The Rainbow”
  • “The Sea”
  • “Far Away Across The Sea”
Sierra Ferrell – The Sea (Music Video)

She really likes the ocean.

My favorite tracks from From the Idle Mind by Chris Leggett and the Copper Line

  • “Dog In The Rain”

OUT OF TOWNS ACTS TO SEE

TIARA AND ANDREW & LEAH MARLENE

It’s a huge week for Richmond artists getting to open for touring acts, and at Richmond Music Hall on Tuesday May 9th Tiara and Andrew are going to open for Leah Marlene. Tiara and Andrew just put out an EP entitled 80s Dream Land, and have been playing it all over town, so if you haven’t had a chance to hear their new music, then give them a shot at this show. A truly strange and interesting turn for the duo, 80s Dream Land is 13 minutes of synthy instrumental trance music; a far cry from their 2021 record Roller Skates which featured a more indie pop sound. 

As for the main act, Leah Marlene is getting ready to release her third album, Feel Like, which will come out May 12th, just three days after her Richmond Music Hall show, so energy is likely to be up. If you haven’t heard of Leah Marlene, then allow me to give you the rundown; this 21 year old artist has been playing and releasing music since she was a teenager, and is only at the very beginning of what is likely to be a long career. The daughter of Derry Grehan who has had a successful career spanning four decades as the lead guitar player for the Ontario based Honeymoon Suite, Marlene put out her first studio album, Many Colors, just last year and is already getting ready to drop her next. Appearing on America Idol in its 20th season, the young singer placed second runner-up, and although I’m not much for singing competitions, I do find her voice to be incredibly powerful and unique. Keep your eye on Leah Marlene, because who knows what could happen next.

My favorite track from 80s Dream Land

  • The Doppelganger

My favorite track from Many Colors

  • “Can’t Keep Me Down”

LOCAL & REGIONAL ACTS TO SEE

Wkndr.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Wkndr. recently, and had the opportunity to meet Ali the flute player, bass player, and singer at a function last night at Godfrey’s. Digging into their music I’ve been surprised at their sound that defies classification across songs, but remains consistent as they retain instrumentation. They’ll be at Brambly Park After Dark May 13th at 9:30PM, so make your way out and give them a listen if you’ve got the time that night.

My favorite Wkdnr. Track

  • “Middle-Aged Agitator”

LOCAL & REGIONAL MUSIC RELEASES

GNAWING

Local hotshots Gnawing have been grinding like crazy on tour recently in support of their upcoming album Modern Survival Techniques. This heavy group are marking the release of their second record with a performance at Get Tight Lounge Friday May 12th, so if the americana sounds of Brown’s Island don’t pull you, then perhaps you should head down to Main Street and catch the fuzzy sounds of these hard working Richmonders.

KENDALL STREET COMPANY

Kendall Street Company doesn’t know how to slow down evidently, as they’ve got another single “Becca’s Dad” with a video out this last weekend. The most exciting part of this release is the feature of Andy Hall from The Infamous Stringdusters on lap steel, and they use him to his full extent on a stellar nearly two minute long solo. It’s a rocking track with a country feel where lead singer Louis Smith calls with his tongue-in-cheek lyrics and the band responds with gusto on their instruments. They’ll be releasing a video for it sometime soon, so keep your eye out for that if you like this eclectic band’s jammy sound.

Top photo courtesy of Sierra Ferrell

Andrew Bonieskie

Andrew Bonieskie

But you may call me Bones. I'm the Associate Editor of RVA Mag, and a writer and musician living in Richmond, Virginia. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in music and a minor in creative writing I have gone on to score feature and short films, released a book of poetry, an album of original music, and perform lead vocals with the band Pebbles Palace.




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