Bluegrass singer-songwriter Sierra Hull will bring her signature blend of traditional bluegrass and roots music to West Shore Community College’s Performing Arts Living Room Series on Friday, Nov. 13. The virtual concert begins at 7:30 p.m., and the online event is free of charge.
At only 28 years old, Hull brings a musical pedigree of an artist much older. She started by singing as a toddler. She took up the mandolin a few years later and was taking part in local jam sessions by the time she was 8.
Hull has been lauded as a “prodigious talent” by “The New York Times,” a claim no one would dispute considering the award-winning bluegrass artist and musical prodigy was already signed to Rounder Records at the age of 13 and three years later had released her debut album.
Best known for her work on the mandolin, the singer-songwriter’s performances also reveal abundant gifts as a composer and lyricist. As writer and fellow musician Peter Cooper says of Hull’s songs, “This is not bluegrass, or chamber, or pop music. This is original music from a virtuoso who tells the truth and speaks from herself.”
Revealing her profound warmth as a storyteller, “25 Trips,” released last February, finds Hull shedding light on the beauty and chaos and sometimes sorrow of growing up and getting older.
To that end, the album’s title nods to a particularly momentous year of her life, including her marriage to fellow bluegrass musician Justin Moses and the release of her widely acclaimed album “Weighted Mind”—a Béla Fleck-produced effort nominated for Best Folk Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards. Fleck said, “She plays the mandolin with a degree of refined elegance and freedom that few have achieved. And now her vocals and songwriting have matured to the level of her virtuosity.”
“There’s a lot of push-and-pull on this record, where in some moments I feel like everything’s happening so fast and I wish I could slow it all down so I can really enjoy it,” Hull points out. “But then there are also times where I’m looking forward to the day when the craziness has died down a bit, and life’s a little calmer.”
Hull began playing the mandolin at the age of eight and self-released the album “Angel Mountain” when she was ten. In 2009, she further distinguished herself by becoming the first bluegrass musician to receive a Presidential Scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
In 2008, when she was 16, she released her debut album, “Secrets.” That album earned her first nomination for Mandolin Player of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards. In 2016, she became the first-ever woman to win the award — and followed with repeats in 2017 and 2018. Player and her friend and mentor, 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss proclaimed, “Sierra is a remarkably talented, beautiful human being. Success could not come to a more worthy person.”
While Hull has earned the admiration of the press and her peers alike, “The Bluegrass Situation” dubbed her a “mandolin- playing wonder,” and “Music City Roots” praised her “uncommon maturity—musical and personal,” and noted “one might say she embodies the perfect balance of humility and capability.”
Hull, who has performed at the White House, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, is a recipient of multiple IBMA awards and a 2017 Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album. She has also toured extensively and made occasional guest appearances with the Indigo Girls, Garth Brooks and Gillian Welch.
All of the performances in WSCC’s Living Room Series are free of charge and more information and links to the performances can be found on the college’s web site.
The performance will also be archived for viewing at a later date.