The American roots music tradition thrives in the Music Room of the Rosen House. Sierra Hull has been recognized from age 11 as a virtuoso mandolin-player, gaining respect and admiration from audiences and fellow musicians alike. Now a seasoned touring musician nearing her mid-20s, Hull has honed her vocals and songwriting to match the skill of her playing gaining the attention of greats like Bela Fleck and Alison Krauss.
For this special evening, Sierra Hull will be bringing along a few guests to meet somewhere in the middle between her bluegrass roots and the Grammy-nominated, Weighted Mind.
“She plays the mandolin with a degree of refined elegance and freedom that few have achieved” — Béla Fleck
Wes Corbett, banjo
Ethan Jodziewicz, bass
Enjoy an All-Audience Afterglow following the performance.
Since the age of 11, Sierra Hull has been recognized as a virtuoso mandolin player, astonishing audiences and fellow musicians alike. She was signed to Rounder Records at age 13 and released her debut album, Secrets, in 2008 at age 16. Daybreak, her second album, followed in 2011. She has performed at The White House, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center, and was the first bluegrass musician to receive a Presidential Scholarship at Berklee College of Music. In 2017, she was named Mandolin Player of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, an honor she also won in 2016.
Now a seasoned touring musician, Hull has released her most inspired and mature recorded work to date. Her latest album, Weighted Mind, is a landmark achievement, not just in her career, but in the world of folk-pop, bluegrass, and acoustic music overall.
“She plays the mandolin with a degree of refined elegance and freedom that few have achieved,” says Béla Fleck, the genre-leaping banjo master who produced Weighted Mind. “And now her vocals and songwriting have matured to the level of her virtuosity.” Alison Krauss, who has won more Grammy awards than any female artist in history, says of Hull, “I think she’s endless. … Talent like hers is so rare, and I don’t think it stops. It’s round.”
She was celebrated, yet adrift. What she felt at 22 was not what she felt at 12, and the music she was writing and playing at home was different from what she was performing on stage. “In some way, I was needing to run from the thing that everybody thought I was being,” she says now, at 24.
“Sierra did well in music very fast and very young,” says Krauss. “Sometimes when that happens, people don’t want you to change. It’s, ‘We know you as this, and now you’re scaring us.’ But there wasn’t a question about what she wanted. She just needed somebody to listen to her and say, ‘What you have to say is valuable. If this is what you feel and what you want to say, you wait until you get to say it.'”
With instrumentation comprised largely of mandolin, bass, and vocals, Weighted Mind is genre-transcending music at its best, with production by Fleck and special harmony vocal guests Krauss, Abigail Washburn, and Rhiannon Giddens adding to the luster. Hull wrote eleven of Weighted Mind’s twelve songs (and she arranged the twelfth tune), penning some with co-writers and writing others on her own.
“The moment you start to be yourself, there’s an honesty about that, that people connect with,” she says. “This album feels like the story of my early twenties, of that searching. Now, it feels like everything worked out the way it was supposed to.”