Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Sierra Hull

Daybreak

(Rounder; US: 8 Mar 2011; UK: 8 Mar 2011)

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.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


Media
Related Articles
6 Dec 2011
While last year was distinguished by a heavy dose of newgrass, jamgrass, and progressive bluegrass, 2011 was defined by a return to traditionalism.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.