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Entertainment News

Sunday, 9 November, 2008 2:22 PM

CMA New Artist Spotlight: Sierra Hull

Photo by Jim MCGuire

Rounder recording artist Sierra Hull.

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2008 CMA Close Up News Service

Sierra Hull has played on the Grand Ole Opry, won instrumental contests, performed at Carnegie Hall and shared the stage with Sam Bush, Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs and other artists - not bad for a 16-year-old, though those who've known her for a while aren't surprised at the trajectory of her young career.

Born in Byrdstown, Tenn., Hull was 8 when she began picking the mandolin. Two years later, in 2002, she self-released Angel Mountain and made the first of many appearances at annual International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) conventions.

Throughout Secrets, her Rounder Records debut album, which she co-produced with Ron Block, Hull builds from a foundation of technique, not to dazzle but to convey the essence of all 13 songs, two of which she wrote and one a co-write. She sings in a warm timbre, sweetening the melody with a honeyed brush. When confronting a lyric that might require more life experience, Hull applies an innocence that appeals in a more nostalgic way to the seasoned listener.

Her work on mandolin and guitar reflects a similar restraint, except in moments when a few fireworks illuminate. On "Smashville," for instance, her solo flows gracefully, speeding up over occasional rapids but more often glistening with a linear beauty and endless inventiveness. Surrounded on tracks by members of her band and high-profile guests such as Jerry Douglas, Tony Rice and Stuart Duncan, she already sounds at home among the giants of her genre.

IN HER OWN WORDS:

CD IN YOUR STEREO
"Through the Window of a Train, by Blue Highway."

PHRASE YOU SAY OVER AND OVER AGAIN
"You know what I mean?"

LUCKY CHARM
"I ate Lucky Charms for breakfast, if that counts."

FAVORITE FOOD WHILE ON TOUR
"Probably chicken, although I will try and eat almost anything."

WHAT YOU HOPE PEOPLE WILL SAY ABOUT YOU 50 YEARS FROM NOW
"That I made a difference in the music world in some way, that I was a kind person and that I lived a life pleasing unto God."

MUSICAL INFLUENCES
"Alison Krauss, Sam Bush and Chris Thile."

FIRST START IN MUSIC
"I started playing mandolin at age 8."

On the Web: www.sierrahull.com

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