We last heard from Sierra Hull when she was 19 years old. The mandolin virtuoso's transitions between bluegrass and newgrass were authoritative beyond her years. Five years on, her third album, Weighted Mind, showcases her abilities as a singer/songwriter whose depth and inspiration are enhanced by that technical facility. This is not a picker's album per se -- though there is plenty of great playing on it.
Sierra Hull’s Weighted Mind begins with a composition called “Stranded”, but the hopeful jubilance on display in the ethereal, explorative nature of the way Hull impressively plucks her mandolin would call for more of a lilting sense of self-assuredness than anything else. Bluegrass in general has been a genre that always prided itself in mastery of the earthy throng; from acoustic guitar to lap steel, upright bass, cello, fiddle, and mandolin, it’s one of the world’s most organic genres, but one of the most that, at least in recent times, finds itself leaning on reliance towards tremendous proficiency. Having emerged in the 2000s as one of a slew of teenage prodigies taking up bluegrass, Hull, of course, reaches those proficiencies with relative ease, but there is something about her latest release in particular that strikes as particularly impressive.