Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Everyone loves a child prodigy, and music history is littered with their tales, from Mozart to Michael Jackson. Yet it's rare that a young musician exudes not only talent but the inescapable impression that he or she is here to stay, destined for greatness and lasting contributions. Sierra Hull is such an artist. Playing since she was eight, discovered by Alison Krauss at 11, Hull is an extraordinarily gifted bluegrass mandolinist, but more than that, she's a sophisticated all-around artist. On her Rounder debut, Secrets, which follows a self-released CD, Hull proves an engaging vocalist and interpreter of songs as well as an ace picker. Working within the traditional format -- surrounded by acoustic guitar (Tony Rice is among the guests, peeling out a sublime solo on "That's All I Can Say"), banjo, fiddle, bass, and occasional Dobro -- Hull never lets on that she was 16 when she made this record. Whether on a vocal harmony-dominated take on the oldie "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" or the instrumental breakdown "Hullarious," on which she doubles on guitar, Hull is in complete control. This isn't an experimental or "newgrass" record but it's not meant to be: Hull is carrying on a tradition with honor and style. It's in good hands with her. ~ Jeff Tamarkin

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