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Sierra Hull
Saturday, October 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm
The Richard K. Stem Concert Hall
Ticket Price: $26.50/ $20 for IU Southeast faculty and staff/ $10 for IU Southeast students

Thirty seconds into the opening track of Secrets- the debut album she recorded at 15, and release at 16-, Sierra Hull sings a line that puts a fine point on it: “I’m not a child anymore.”  What you hear on Daybreak is one of bluegrass’s few full-fledged virtuosic instrumentalist/singer/songwriters, and one who’s gracefully grown into her gifts. Of course, the evidence of Sierra’s uncommon maturity - musical and personal - has been there all along, and won her formidable fans. Then there’s the fact that Berklee School of Music gave her the school’s most prestigious award, the Presidential Scholarship, a first for a bluegrass musician; her choice to accept it, to delay her dream of hitting the road full-time after high school in favor of expanding her musical worldview, was hardly a light one. While her mandolin playing has always possessed clarity and fleet-fingered precision, here she attacks her solos with newfound spontaneity and depth of feeling; she calls it “playing with a point to prove.” Her singing—always straight and true—has more heartfelt power behind it, to results Bales describes, simply, as “doing the songs justice.”

Her songs that fall squarely in the bluegrass tradition, feelings are out in the open; during country-leaning compositions, she ponders relationships from more introspective angles; and the title track—a breathtaking pop ballad—is the most ruminative moment of all. But as a player, a singer and a songwriter, she also has remarkable range, the potential to win over ears unfamiliar with Bill Monroe and give performances of broad cultural importance, as she’s done at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the National Prayer Breakfast. Matt Glaser—head of Berklee’s American Roots Music Program—put it this way: “She has no limitations as a musician.”

Part of the Different Drummer Series

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