13 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bluegrass prodigies channel the intensity of wide-eyed youth with a mature dexterity that seeps into their personality. Listening to Sierra Hull play mandolin is kind of like hearing Sean Watkins flat-pick a guitar or listening to Chris Thile play at speeds that could induce seizures. Not that the 16-year-old Hull plays with an athletic style so much as she plays with restrained feeling that opens up in all the right spots. And when Hull's string picking skills are juxtaposed to her endearing Tennessee drawl, this along with catchy songs wrapped in universal lyrics all provide for an undeniably awesome chemistry. On the instrumental "Smashville" her nimble fingers dance all over the fret board with fluttering rhythms that recall Nickel Creek's "Ode to a Butterfly." Like Nickel Creek's debut album, string deity Alison Krauss co produced Secrets (with ample help from Ron Block). Krauss' mentoring and befriending of Hull may be why the bittersweet "If You Can Tame My Heart" sounds subtly reminiscent of Krauss' "Foolish Heart" from 1987's Too Late to Cry. For a tune that sounds pulled straight off an Appalachian porch, try "That's All I Can Say" with its hootin' hillbilly chorus.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bluegrass prodigies channel the intensity of wide-eyed youth with a mature dexterity that seeps into their personality. Listening to Sierra Hull play mandolin is kind of like hearing Sean Watkins flat-pick a guitar or listening to Chris Thile play at speeds that could induce seizures. Not that the 16-year-old Hull plays with an athletic style so much as she plays with restrained feeling that opens up in all the right spots. And when Hull's string picking skills are juxtaposed to her endearing Tennessee drawl, this along with catchy songs wrapped in universal lyrics all provide for an undeniably awesome chemistry. On the instrumental "Smashville" her nimble fingers dance all over the fret board with fluttering rhythms that recall Nickel Creek's "Ode to a Butterfly." Like Nickel Creek's debut album, string deity Alison Krauss co produced Secrets (with ample help from Ron Block). Krauss' mentoring and befriending of Hull may be why the bittersweet "If You Can Tame My Heart" sounds subtly reminiscent of Krauss' "Foolish Heart" from 1987's Too Late to Cry. For a tune that sounds pulled straight off an Appalachian porch, try "That's All I Can Say" with its hootin' hillbilly chorus.

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