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Prodigious Bluegrass Mandolin
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About Sierra Hull
Sierra Hull, the singer and mandolinist and former child prodigy who signed a record contract at age 13, and distinguished herself by becoming the first bluegrass musician to receive a Presidential Scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, released her first new album in five years,Weighted Mind, in early 2016.
15-time Grammy winner Béla Fleck produced the recording, which features eleven compelling new compositions written or co-written by Hull, and one traditional tune for which she and Fleck provided a new arrangement. While Hull’s ethereal voice and fluid playing take center stage here, she receives ample support from bass marvel Ethan Jodziewicz. Béla Fleck’s banjo adorns the elegant “Queen of Hearts/Royal Tea,” and Alison Krauss, Abigail Washburn, and Rhiannon Giddens add enchanting harmonies.
Though she is best known for her work as a mandolin player, on these songs, Hull reveals her abundant gifts as a composer and lyricist. Themes of loss and restoration run through the album, starting with the muscular opening number, “Stranded,” and continue on the stirring “Compass,” on which she declares, “I’ve thrown away my compass, done with the chart…I’ll just step out, throw my doubt into the sea, for what’s meant to be will be.” The gentle, dissonant title track ponders existential questions, while the haunting “Birthday” and “Fallen Man” offer somber reflections on strained relationships and impossible choices. The album closes on an optimistic note, with the sweetly assertive “I’ll Be Fine,” and the uplifting, philosophical closer, “Black River.” Fleck, Giddens, Krauss, and Washburn all guest on this track, on which Hull reflects, “A thousand years is but a day, and maybe in a thousand years, I’ll find my way.”
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“inventive and fluid playing style… her voice feature[s] the same sort of refreshing clarity as her mandolin playing.” – All Music
“one of the hottest properties in American country music… a sensational mandolin player” – Telegraph
“The Krauss influence is unmistakable… Hull puts her own stamp on that sound with her aggressive mandolin picking and girlish soprano.”
– Washington Post