AcuTab Publications has announced March 16 as the release date for their newest instructional DVD, Secrets Songs & Tunes by Sierra Hull. It offers four hours of insight and instruction from this young mandolin prodigy on two DVDs, with a printed booklet.
If you are plugged in to the bluegrass scene, you may have been hearing about Sierra for the past 6 years, well before the release of her debut CD, Secrets, on Rounder Records in May of 2008. She had been featured on stage with Alison Krauss at age 13 and was recruited by Rounder as she entered high school. Sierra said that she was very flattered by their early interest, but wisely decided that she need to be artistically prepared before putting herself forward on a major release – so she waited until the ripe old age of 16.
She was similarly recruited by the prestigious Berklee College Of Music, who offered a full, four year scholarship to attend the school in Boston. At the IBMA convention during her senior year, then new Berklee President Roger Brown tailed her like a college recruiter chasing a star tailback. Though initially uncertain about college with an active touring schedule in the offing, Sierra ultimately accepted a Berklee Presidential Scholarship and began her studies there in the Fall of 2009.
In her AcuTab DVD, Sierra teaches 7 songs and solos from Secrets, plus two tunes from a limited-release CD she recorded at age 13. She goes into great detail demonstrating the solos, putting even the more complex pieces (like Smashville and Hullarious) within the reach of intermediate level mandolinists. There is also a wealth of wisdom – wise well beyond her years – imparted as the material is presented, whether it is fingering, attack, arrangement advice or suggestions about pick direction.
Watching the video, it becomes clear that she is not only a poised and confident musician, but also a natural teacher and a charming young lady. Here’s a glimpse from the video trailer.
Sierra is assisted in the studio by Kenny Smith on guitar, Ron Block on banjo and Zak McLamb on bass.