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Secrets

4.8 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 6, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Sierra Hull is a rare talent: an artist who combines youthful intensity and energy with a sense of grace and maturity well beyond her years. Secrets, her national debut, features her fluidly, inventive mandolin playing and tender, wistful singing supported by a luminous cast of bluegrass masters. From full-on newgrass instrumentals to eloquent, heart-stopping ballads to playful modern bluegrass, Secrets heralds the arrival of a fresh, important new voice onto today's bluegrass scene.

Co-produced by Sierra Hull and Ron Block (Union Station), and featuring Block, Barry Bales, Dennis Crouch, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Clay Hess, Rob Ickes, Chris Jones, Jason Moore, Tony Rice, Dan Tyminski, Jim VanCleve, and Cory Walker.

"With Secrets, Sierra Hull takes charge and leads the band with full authority. Her vocals are effortless and straight to the point, while keeping the focus on melody. Her mandolin playing is smooth, in time, and downright slippery. It's amazing to listen to her precision and agility, and the potential for musical growth is tremendous. I can't wait to hear what Sierra comes up with next. Every so often, a talent comes along that makes us sit up and take notice. That time is now for Sierra Hull."
-Sam Bush

"Sierra is a remarkably talented, beautiful human being. Success could not come to a more worthy person. I adore her."
-Alison Krauss
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 6, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rounder
  • ASIN: B0014VPFIQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,510 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Sierra Hull Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had the great fortune to see Sierra Hull back in 2007. There she was on stage with the Mark Newton Band, stage set about 50 feet from the RF&P railroad tracks in Ashland, VA. Her name wasn't listed in the program but leader Mark Newton kept mentioning her name and the long drive to Byrdstown, TN as Sierra had to be in school the next day.

There I sat in my lawn chair, about 20 feet away from the stage watching this beautiful young woman display her mastery of the mandolin along with delightful vocals. To hear her pleasurable voice is most enjoyable but to watch her fingers fly on her mandolin is a sight to behold!

Again I had the fortune to see Sierra in Richmond in 2009. This time she & her band were second billed to "The Grascals". 'Grascals' Jamie Johnson stated that before long everyone will be in line for Sierra Hull's autograph. I now have an autographed copy of "Secrets". She is a sweet, delightful young lady, even saying "nice to see you again" to me after mentioning that 2007 gig.

As a Berklee School of Music graduate, Sierra Hull is well on her way to developing her prodigal abilities to stardom; very much like her mentor Alison Krauss. As for her recording Secrets, all songs are pleasing, if maybe youthful work in progress. I find her efforts on the songs "Pretend" and "The Hard Way" most gratifying. The last song, "Trust and Obey" is a spiritual offering that will truly touch your heart.
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Prime Cuts: Trust and Obey, Everybody's Somebody's Fool, The Hard Way

Sierra Hull is destined to make bluegrass cool again. Merely only 16 years-old, "Secrets" hits the high water mark in terms of debut CDs with Hull's impeccably pure angelic sound that calls to mind a young Alison Krauss. In fact Krauss presence is felt right through the disc: namely because this debut effort is helmed by Union Station's Ron Block together with Hull. Hopefully with her clout with Rounder Records (also Krauss' recording home), this will stream in the success Hull deserves. An austere line of Who's Who in bluegrass forms the band backup including Jerry Douglas, Dan Tyminski, Stuart Duncan, Ron Ickes AND Mountain Heart's Jim Van Cleve. Unfaultable also is Hull's mandolin licks; while teenagers her age are into the latest hip hop beeps and whistles Hull's constant love is playing her rustic string instruments. And when she plays conterminous with these bluegrass greats, she sounds like a peer.

Most importantly, it is still the songs that shine. While many bluegrass outputs veer on the technical virtuoso of exceptional playing made at the expense at the quality of the songs, this is not the case here. Opener and title cut "Secrets" is a prime example of an introspective glance into "the secret passions" of Hull's heart that s made even more bittersweet with the delicate mandolin lines. Hull has a hand in the composing "Pretend," a paean of unrequited love told with a diary-like frankness. And despite the incessant fiddle licks to mask the pain, Hull's expressive vocals could not hide the influx of feelings of pain.
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If you are like me and mourning that Alison Krauss has hooked up with Robert Plant this year (I know it is a multi platinum album/cd) Sierra Hull can help you survive through this period. Whereas, Alison plays the "fiddle" Sierra plays Bill Monroe's instrument of choice - Mandolin.
Yes she is only 16 years old and her voice will mature with age and experience but if Alison doesn't come back to Union Station, Sierra could fill that role very well. In fact on the various songs are members of Union Station contributing their talents. To paraphase Randy Jackson, Sierra you are the "BOMB" With Sierra being the next generation of "bluegrass" artists, Bill Monroe can rest easy that his baby - Bluegrass music is in very capable hands. Bluegrass music fans, this should be in your collection!
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I first read about Sierra Hull in my local paper, about a year after Amazon says the CD was released, and decided to give her CD a try (it's taken me quite a while to get around to reviewing it). The sound is very consistent though not every selection really sounds alike, good to listen to if you have an appreciation for bluegrass music. # 9 The Hard Way has a slower, more sombre tone to it and # 10 Hullarious is an instrumental, 5 players, 6 instruments- Sierra playing 2 of them.

The Amazon Sierra Hull Store says she wrote 7 selections, by my count the CD notes indicate only 3 : #3 Two Winding Rails (with father Stacy) # 6 Pretend and # 10 Hullarious.

I'd give Sierra higher marks for her instrumental work although her voice isn't bad either with #13 Trust and Obey perhaps being her weakest effort.
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Format: Audio CD
I love this album, and the fact that Sierra was only 15 when she recorded, (16 when it released), it just makes it that much more amazing. Her mandolin playing is so masterful, it's hard to comprehend how she could be so young. She also solos beautifully on guitar. There are a lot of great songs on this album, my favorites being "From Now On", "Smashville" (written by the incredible fiddler Jim Vancleve), "Hullarious", and "Everybody is Somebody's Fool". I am a huge Alison Krauss fan, and if you like Alison, you will almost assuredly like this album, since this album was produced by Ron Block, and all the Union Station members play on it, I believe. (I have not been able to find a comprehensive listing of who played on each song - did Alison play fiddle on it? I know Christian Ward has been her primary fiddler in live performances, and he's really excellent as well). She has Dan Tyminski's harmonies on most tunes, and they sound heavenly as always. I find myself listening to this one over and over.
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