Thanks, that's a great article. Lots of interesting detail, such as Alison avoiding press interviews for several years because she thought she was always being misquoted, and the two of them making up joke songs (including Illinois Dropout!) Apparently it was Ron Block who first introduced Sierra.
Sierra is absoulutly wonderful! Im really happy ya'll posted this article! Im very lucky that Sierra is a good friend of mine and Ive got to hear her stories from the road with Alison. Many of them are quite entertaining, LOL. Ive heard the "Training Bra Song" which is hilarious. Sierra was laughing so hard she was crying on the phone telling me about it. Shes great. There's also another article about Sierra and Alison from the Tennessean. www.tennessean.com/features/living/archives/03/10/40711371.shtml
#1 Alison and Sierra Fan!!!!!!(Bigger than Kimberly!!!!!)(Much bigger times infinity! < we like goofyness
Posted: 03/20/14, 12:40 AM EDT | Updated: 5 days ago
Sierra Hull is one of those rare bluegrass players that actually comes from an area of Tennessee wherein the style originally germinated. She describes her home town. “Byrdstown is a very small town in northern middle TN. There’s about 900 people that actually live in town and around 5,000 in the county. There are no red lights, just a three way stop. Kinda Mayberry-is. It’s beautiful — lots of countryside — also home to Dale Hollow Lake — a big tourist attraction in the summer and home of the world record small mouth bass. It’s a wonderful place to have grown up in,” she reminisces. It is that sort of authentic bluegrass and other mandolin, American, roots music you will here at her upcoming Sellersville Theatre show. With a couple albums out on Rounder Records, Hull has come a long way since bursting on to the scene at age 15. Her presence and talent have expanded steadily ever since.
Sierra Hull is different because she already has a festival in her honor. She explains, “The Sierra Hull festival happens every year on the 2nd weekend in October. The city started this event when I was 10 years old. They were going to start a bluegrass fest anyway, then someone suggested it be called that and it has since remained an event that I attend every year — an honor for sure. It’s always great to come back and visit with hometown friends during this time.” However, Hull is also familiar with big cities of the north as she attended college in Boston. She said, “So much of what I studied at Berklee School of Music I had little previous knowledge of. I often felt like the one fighting to keep up! There were some things that maybe I understood at a higher level because of my experience, but also loads of things that my fellow classmates totally understood that I did not.” Hull has played in front of some important people including President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast. “Alison Krauss invited me to play with her there. It was unreal. My conversations with him were brief, but he was very friendly and seemed to really appreciate us being there,” Hull said.
Major venues have also beckoned. She especially recalls the Grand Ole Oprey appearances. “The Opry is like one of those places that I could play a hundred times and still go ‘wow, this is so cool!’ My dream as a little girl was to play there with Alison (she was my biggest hero),” she said. Carnegie Hall has been a stop also for Hull but in a different context. “The first time I played Carnegie was for an educational show — with that being the focus with another young musician, Ryan Holladay.
The second time was with Alison, Edgar Meyer and Bobby McFerrin. Alison got sick though and I ended up having to sing her songs last minute... (Impossible shoes to fill, but I tried.) Both times were amazing, though it would be a dream to be invited to perform my own music there someday. I still can’t believe I’ve played there at all though.”
Indeed, Hull is very professional about her concert performances regardless as to location. “I try to make every concert important. More and more I find myself going — it’s not OK to be slack for anything. If I am playing a show — someone most likely took time out of their day and paid to come hear me ... Whether that means at some festival somewhere or the Grand Ole Opry,” she said.
Hull knows only her own life and it is one of a performing musician since age fifteen. So she doesn’t always seem to know how to respond to the idea of another path. She reports, “I don’t know that I’m fully aware of what problems young musicians in other genres deal with — or specifically what comes to people’s minds when you ask that, but in the bluegrass world (or at least my experience) people embrace young musicians in this beautiful way and encourage them so much. It’s part of the reason I kept playing — the community of musicians and friends that develops over time. It’s very family based and friendly.”
Ultimately, it all comes back to family. Hull said, “My dad is the reason I play. He bought a mandolin and started taking lessons when I was about 7. He was really getting interested in instruments and bluegrass in general. He wanted to get my older brother, Cody, to play something — the banjo at first. So I thought, ‘I wanna learn something too.’ I decided fiddle. My granny and great aunt and uncle (he played mandolin, fiddle and guitar and got my dad interested) went in together and bought me a fiddle for Christmas. It was a full-size and was a little big for my little 8 year old hands. So to spare my disappointment, dad handed me a mandolin (tuned like the fiddle and close enough) and taught me my first chords and a song.” She adds, “As for other instruments — I mess around with them enough to get a good laugh.” Frequently, Hull will use a guitar at home to write a song. She can write songs on the road, at home, and embody the stories in other people’s compositions.
Her current goals are “To finish a new album. I’m very excited about the project I’m working on. It has taken a lot of searching this time around, but it’s starting to feel like I’m in the right place.”