Courtesy of UCSB Arts & Lectures

UCSB Arts & Lectures presented Sierra Ferrell’s “Shoot for the Moon” tour for the first time in Santa Barbara on March 10. Known for her blend of country, folk, tango and gypsy music, to name a few, Ferrell has become a breakthrough star for her unique combination of genres and her angelic voice. 

Walking in, Campbell Hall was filled with a wide range of ages, from preschool-aged children all the way to seniors, many dressed in cowboy hats and boots, ready to experience the wonder that is Ferrell.

The sight of the stage transported the audience from Campbell Hall to ethereal, forested wetlands. With a vine-covered microphone and bouquets of flowers on the stage, the vision was perfectly executed, especially with the background of watercolor trees to tie everything together. 

Once the band began to play, Ferrell walked onto the stage in a darling folk dress and her hair in two looped braids. She began to sing “Give It Time,” a melancholy yet beautiful start to the concert. The use of lighting was hard to ignore, especially the spotlights that directed attention to Ferrell or one of the band members when needed. 

As the set progressed, the energy of the show was vibrant. Though Ferrell’s studio music is nothing short of phenomenal, her live band added another layer of charm. With banjo, guitar and violin solos being a part of almost every song, each had a unique twist to distinguish itself from its studio version. Ferrell incorporated other elements of sound to enhance the experience, such as the use of a cowbell; she also used a train whistle in her performance of “Money Train,”  a song off of her new album. Ferrell also sang other songs from her newly-released album: “Trail of Flowers,” “American Dreaming,” “Dollar Bill Bar” and “I Could Drive You Crazy.”

During the outro of “I Could Drive You Crazy,” Ferrell walked off stage and reappeared in a lovely, all-white and feathery one piece, looking like an angel. With a bow and arrow in hand, she shot the backdrop of the stage, which fell to reveal a celestial background of clouds, explaining the tour name, “Shoot for the Moon.” Ferrell started the next half of her set with another melancholy tune: “Whispering Waltz.”

After the performance of one of her most well-known songs, “In Dreams,” she was met with a standing ovation for her superb performance. A couple ran to the front of the hall to dance, urging the rest of the audience to stand. From there, the crowd energy completely changed, from being seated in their seats to filling the aisles shoulder to shoulder. The audience swayed back and forth in time with the beat, creating a true concert experience in a small university hall. At the end of the set, Ferrell sang “Jeremiah,” a powerfully sad love song that was a lovely end to the show. 

However, the crowd cheered for an encore and Ferrell came back with her band and performed a cover of Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee.” The finale was electric, with Ferrell once again showing the power of her voice. 

In the end, as the attendees walked out of Campbell Hall, a plethora of conversations could be heard discussing the amazing set that was witnessed. Whether it was praising the lighting, the sound, the music or just Ferrell and her band’s energy, everyone could agree that the show was beyond what words can describe. It may have been Ferrell’s first time performing in Santa Barbara, but hopefully it will not be her last.