Cavefest Artist Spotlight: Sierra Hull

The extended forecasts says the weather will be beautiful and there is only 17 days until Cavefest. It’s a short road trip from Nashville and tickets are still available but going fast. Our first Cavefest Artist Spotlight is the amazing Sierra Hull. Hull was born and raised right here in Tennessee in Byrdstown. She began playing the mandolin at the age of eight and signed with Rounder Records at the age of 13. Her 2008 debut album, Secrets, which was co-produced by Alison Krauss and Ron Block when Hull was only 16 peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart.

Now 28-years-old, Hull, a Berklee College of Music graduate has received many accolades including Mandolin Player of the Year, Recorded Event of the Year and a Grammy nomination.

Her latest album, 25 Trips finds Hull shedding light on the beauty and chaos and sometimes sorrow of growing up and getting older. The album’s title nods to a particularly momentous year of her life, including her marriage to fellow bluegrass musician Justin Moses and the release of her widely acclaimed album Weighted Mind—a Béla Fleck-produced effort nominated for Best Folk Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

“There’s a lot of push-and-pull on this record, where in some moments I feel like everything’s happening so fast and I wish I could slow it all down so I can really enjoy it,” Hull points out. “But then there are also times where I’m looking forward to the day when the craziness has died down a bit, and life’s a little calmer” says Hull.

25 Trips continues the musical journey begun on Weighted Mind, a body of work that built off Hull’s bluegrass roots and ventured into entirely new terrain. But while its predecessor assumed a sparse and stripped-back palette, 25 Trips embodies a far more intricately arranged sound—an effect achieved with the help of peers like guitarist Mike Seal, bassist Ethan Jodziewicz, violinist Alex Hargreaves, and fiddler Christian Sedelmyer, as well as several musicians that Hull has long admired (including bassist Viktor Krauss, guitarist Bryan Sutton, and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Duncan). Along with integrating electric instrumentation and percussion into her material for the first time, Hull dreamed up the album’s eclectic textures by embracing a free-flowing process that often gave way to lightning-in-a-bottle improvisation.

“There were some songs that we created from the ground up, where I’d go in and play by myself, and from there we’d bring in other musicians to add more and more layers,” Hull says. “It was really wonderful to work that way, where we started from a place of mystery and then just let the song show us what it wanted or needed to become.”

Hull  will surely be one of the highlights of Cavefest as she’s quickly becoming a household name in the Bluegrass world. Look for more Cavefest Artist Spotlights in the days leading up to Cavefest and GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.

About Jerry Holthouse

Music editor for Nashville.com. Jerry Holthouse is a content writer, songwriter and a graphic designer. He owns and runs Holthouse Creative, a full service creative agency. He is an avid outdoorsman and a lover of everything music. You can contact him at JerryHolthouse@Nashville.com

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