by Pat Dinges
I was disappointed on the first listen. I was expecting a CD packed with instrumentals with the mandolin front and center. After all, Sierra Hull is a gifted mandolin player, right?
When I listened to Sierra Hull’s debut CD, “Secrets” for the second time (minus the expectations) I liked what I heard.
Sierra’s mandolin playing is sweet, smooth, and nimble. (There were hints of Chris Thile’s style at times.) But the girl also has a voice. There is a definite Alison Krauss influence. But, I would not call that a bad thing.
This CD contains a good mix of 13 songs. One of the instrumentals (there are 2) is an original, “Hullarious” which showcases Sierra’s mandolin AND guitar work. Quite nice.
Ron Block co-produced this CD with Sierra Hull. Many super-talents play with her: Jerry Douglas, Dan Tyminski, Tony Rice, and Stuart Duncan to name a few. Yeah, it’s a quality production. But Sierra holds her own throughout. Buy a copy to add to your CD collection. You’ll enjoy it now. And, I think it will be interesting to pull out a fews years down the road to compare with work she’ll do down the road. As exceptional as her playing is now, she’s bound to become even more impressive as she matures and experiences more of life.
P.S. – Sierra will be at Grey Fox later this month. I’m looking forward to that performance.