Never mind that Boston’s renowned Berklee School of Music bestowed on Sierra Hull the school’s Presidential Award and its first-ever to a bluegrass musician. You hear virtuosity here quickly, but there’s a maturity to her music that clearly transcends age.
What you hear on her new release Daybreak is one of bluegrass’s few full-fledged virtuosic instrumentalist/singer/songwriters, and one who’s gracefully grown into her gifts. While her mandolin playing has always possessed clarity and fleet-fingered precision, here she attacks her solos with newfound spontaneity and depth of feeling. Her singing—always straight and true—has more heartfelt power behind it, and it does her songs justice.
Matt Glaser—head of Berklee’s American Roots Music Program—put it this way: “She has no limitations as a musician.” Daybreak is certainly a noteworthy arrival; though you can’t help but feel it’s also just the beginning.