Sierra West is gearing up for the release of her upcoming second album “Hold Your Fire”. Described as “folk influenced songs with a pop rock edge”, “Hold Your Fire” is scheduled for 14 August release. It is also Sierra’s first album since 2009’s “Rocks”.
Sierra is now based out of Boston, though born in Connecticut. She has been a staple of the New England music scene for some time, holding her release party for her first album at The Lizard Lounge in Boston. Her second album’s release will be celebrated at Club Passim, which, according to Sierra, “was once the famous Club 47, a historical Cambridge folk venue where Bob Dylan and Joan Baez started out. It’s the reason I wanted to move to Boston.”
Sierra certainly has some connections to the Vermont area too. She is an alum of the University of Vermont. She studied Animal Science while there with an eye towards practicing veterinary medicine. After studying at Mount Ida College, she traveled to South Africa as part of a partnership “between EcoLife Expeditions and The University of Pretoria in a program called Vets-In-The-Wild. In the townships around Soweto, she and her companions volunteered for CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare), helping local vets spay and neuter, deliver food parcels and attend to malnourished, diseased, and abandoned dogs.”
The rest of the press materials go on to explain that:
Sierra’s approach to performing is to create an intimate environment in which to communicate with her audience. Her performing history includes a month-long tour in the Midwest, playing “restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, colleges,” and two tours in Northern California, including a ten-gig trip through the Santa Cruz-Monterey region that grew out of a single house concert. During that excursion, she sat on radio station KPIG’s “The Hot Seat” on its “Please Stand By” show, performing two acoustic songs live in the studio that inspired instant enthusiastic responses from listeners, who called and emailed during the show.
On Hold Your Fire, she shares that intimacy with a dynamic band that includes guitarist Kevin Barry (Ray Lamontagne, Paula Cole, Mary Chapin Carpenter), bassist Richard Gates (Patty Larkin, Ellis Paul, The Weepies), Thomas Juliano (Seven Mary Three, Melissa Ferrick, Kay Hanley) on electric guitar, and background vocals by folk artists Catie Curtis and Mark Erelli.
Hold Your Fire, produced by drummer/producer Lorne Entress at Signature Sounds studio in Connecticut, includes the plaintive and heartfelt “It’s About Time,” which is slated for an upcoming regional radio promotion campaign. Beyond airplay, one of Sierra’s other goals is to have her music licensed for film and television.
The title track “Hold Your Fire” also reflects the descriptive, imagery-driven songwriting that characterizes Sierra’s current work. “I used to write about emotions more straightforwardly,” she says. “Now I use images to create metaphors to say many different things.” “Hold Your Fire” finds her using references to Antarctica and the Himalayas to convey emotions of longing, passion, and desire.
On the other side of the coin, she calls the upbeat, jangling “In Your Hands” the happiest song she’s ever written, about being in a good place in a relationship. Using the imagery of molding clay, Sierra tracks the connection to her partner as they mold to each other emotionally and physically.
“I have always had the feeling that my songs would fit perfectly in a dramatic TV show, the situations I describe fitting right into any number of onscreen scenarios,” she says. “I’m really happy I had the opportunity to make a great album that I can be proud of. It’s really a dream come true and I am excited about all the doors that are opening for me. There’s always so much to experience and so many ways to grow as a person and artist. I’ve been making music for years, but this feels like a really exciting beginning.”
Of course, why just tell you about her music, here are a few of the tracks off her first album: