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Secrets
     

Secrets

by Sierra Hull
 
The first we hear from 16-year-old Sierra Hull on her debut album is a quick pair of delicate, descending mandolin lines that run back up the neck before she enters asserting, in a high, sweet, crystalline voice, "No one else will ever know/This is how these passions always grow..." It's all pure Sierra -- the seamless, confident instrumental work, the uncommonly

Overview

The first we hear from 16-year-old Sierra Hull on her debut album is a quick pair of delicate, descending mandolin lines that run back up the neck before she enters asserting, in a high, sweet, crystalline voice, "No one else will ever know/This is how these passions always grow..." It's all pure Sierra -- the seamless, confident instrumental work, the uncommonly expressive voice of tender years suggesting a well of complex feelings about to overflow in an ache of classic dimensions. Yes, she sounds for all the world like the young Alison Krauss, whose presence is felt throughout the album in style, in temperament (she chose some of the songs) and in sound -- its impeccably austere production was steered by Union Station's banjo master Ron Block, for starters. In addition, fellow AKUS members Dan Tyminski (guitar, baritone vocal) and Jerry Douglas (dobro) join an impressive band lineup that features dramatic cameos on fiddle by Mountain Heart's Jim Van Cleve (whose quick-pulsed instrumental "Smashville" affords Hull an opportunity to fashion a fleet-fingered opening solo run of a minute's duration to set the stage for equally voluble retorts by Block, Van Cleve and guitarist Clay Hess) and the ever-towering Stuart Duncan, who hits a high-water mark even for him with an exquisitely crafted solo rising elegantly up out of the beautiful love song "Only My Heart." Hull even shines as a songwriter, contributing a surging, minor-key lament of unrequited love, "Pretend," in which she sounds preternaturally scarred. A contemplative statement of abiding faith, "Trust and Obey," closes out things, with Hull offering her testimony in a voice imbued with the serenity and certainty of a true believer, which she is. This young lady, the real deal a few times over, delivers one of the truly startling debuts in recent memory.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Everyone loves a child prodigy, and music history is littered with their tales, from Mozart to Michael Jackson. Yet it's rare that a young musician exudes not only talent but the inescapable impression that he or she is here to stay, destined for greatness and lasting contributions. Sierra Hull is such an artist. Playing since she was eight, discovered by Alison Krauss at 11, Hull is an extraordinarily gifted bluegrass mandolinist, but more than that, she's a sophisticated all-around artist. On her Rounder debut, Secrets, which follows a self-released CD, Hull proves an engaging vocalist and interpreter of songs as well as an ace picker. Working within the traditional format -- surrounded by acoustic guitar (Tony Rice is among the guests, peeling out a sublime solo on "That's All I Can Say"), banjo, fiddle, bass, and occasional Dobro -- Hull never lets on that she was 16 when she made this record. Whether on a vocal harmony-dominated take on the oldie "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" or the instrumental breakdown "Hullarious," on which she doubles on guitar, Hull is in complete control. This isn't an experimental or "newgrass" record but it's not meant to be: Hull is carrying on a tradition with honor and style. It's in good hands with her.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/06/2008
Label:
Rounder / Umgd
UPC:
0011661060128
catalogNumber:
610601
Rank:
50316

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sierra Hull   Primary Artist,Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal)
Jerry Douglas   Dobro
Tony Rice   Guitar
Barry Bales   Bass
Ron Block   Banjo,Guitar,Tenor (Vocal)
Stuart Duncan   Fiddle
Rob Ickes   Dobro
Jason Moore   Bass
Jim VanCleve   Fiddle
Clay Hess   Guitar,Tenor (Vocal)
Chris Jones   Tenor (Vocal)
Dan Tyminski   Guitar,Baritone (Vocal)

Technical Credits

Alison Krauss   Author
Sam Bush   Liner Notes,Author
Ron Block   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,overdub engineer
Howard Greenfield   Composer
Jack Keller   Composer
John Pennell   Composer
Adam Steffey   Liner Notes
Marshall Wilborn   Composer
Jason Lehning   Engineer
Gordie Sampson   Composer
Rivers Rutherford   Composer
Janet Beazley   Composer
Jim VanCleve   Composer
Sierra Hull   Composer,Producer

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