Sierra Hull – Daybreak
With a voice this angelic and lonesome, 19-year-old Sierra Hull, was born to sing bluegrass. At the tender age of 13, Hull was signed to Rounder Records. Then at 16, she released and co-produced her Rounder debut, Secrets, with Union Station’s, Ron Block. Following in line with her debut, Hull called upon Block’s Union Station colleague, Barry Bales, to co-produce her sophomore effort, Daybreak, which was released in March.
From the beginning, you’re almost certain you’re listening to Alison Krauss which should come as no surprise with Bales producing and singing on some of the songs. In addition to Bales, Block add his guitar to a couple of tracks while Dan Tyminski contributes his vocals to others. For example, “Easy Come, Easy Go,” “All Because of You,” and “Wouldn’t Matter To Me” sound like Krauss’ most recent work while “Tell Me Tomorrow” could easily be mistaken for early Krauss. Although, heavily influenced by Krauss, Hull does give us hints of Rhonda Vincent in “Don’t Pick Me Up” and “I’ll Always Be Waiting for You.”
So, with the combination of these iconic styles and sounds Hull has developed her own style on Daybreak. Growing as a songwriter, she wrote or co-wrote seven of the album’s twelve songs all of which equal those of her predecessors. She even wrote “The Land of Living,” a beautiful gospel song which seems like a requirement for all bluegrass records. Hull has also carved out a niche by distinguishing herself as one of the best and fastest mandolin players in the genre which she shows in her intricate and precise playing throughout the album and especially on the instrumental tracks.
The songs on Daybreak range from the traditional bluegrass of “Don’t Pick Me Up” to the newgrass instrumental “Bombshell” while “Best Buy” swings and the title track soothes with a modern pop essence of smoothgrass, but all equally charming and memorable.
Daybreak is a wonderful record with the comfortable familiarity of tradition and the brilliance of something new. With this album, Sierra Hull’s rising star could very well be as bright as the rising sun at daybreak.
–April Wolfe @ Common Folk Music
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