Bluegrassy mandolin diva hits all the right notes
Sierra Hull has one of those voices that seem meant for singing bluegrass: wistful and vulnerable, mournful yet strong enough to convey infinite belief in something better. It’s a sad voice, in other words, that resolutely resists sadness. Is it any wonder she sings songs with titles like “I’ll Always Be Waiting for You” and “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”?
Rounder Records has been masterful at identifying and signing such singers over the years—think Gillian Welch and Allison Krauss—and Hull should be another fine entry into that pantheon. A gifted mandolin player as well as singer, Hull is accompanied on this her second album (after 2010’s Secrets) by a stalwart crew of traditional-music players, who surround her voice with a delicate but powerful bed of banjo, guitars, pedal steel, and upright bass. Standout cuts include the fiery instrumentals “Bombshell” and “Chasin’ Skies”, and the warbling, down-tempo “All Because of You”. Also noteworthy is “The Land of Living”, which sees Hull trying her hand at a devotional tune.
This is a terrific record for any fan of female country vocalists and bluegrass in general, or for anyone who might be looking for a change of pace on that Sunday afternoon drive in the country.