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JPR Live Session: Sierra Hull

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Hull's brand new album called 25 Trips considers both the artist's first 25 years on the planet as well as some of the important events from one specific year.

After years of nominations, Sierra Hull finally broke through with a win for best mandolinist at the IBMA awards in 2016. She then took the category again in 2017 and 2018. The recognition was well-deserved. Over the last decade, Hull has impressed with not only her instrumental chops, but also with her compelling singing voice and songcraft.

Sierra Hull had just released a brand new album on Rounder Records called 25 Trips, and was beginning a national tour when the pandemic shut everything down. That unfortunate event came soon after a tornado ripped through her home of Nashville. While she escaped the twister unscathed, a subsequent storm brought down some trees which narrowly missed her house and car. It's safe to say Hull is both literally and figuratively looking for the clouds to part.

She spoke with JPR's Eric Teel about her early start in music, how she's transitioned from instrumental virtuoso to full-fledged singer and songwriter, and how she manages to mix vocal tunes and instrumental 'burners' in her live stage show. Hull also explained the overarching theme behind the songs on 25 Trips, and shared her vision for a true 'studio album' that explores sonic areas that she's not visited before.

We also got treated to a few at-home acoustic versions of songs from the new record in which she showcased her facility on not only mandolin, but acoustic guitar and octave mandolin.

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Eric earned a broadcast journalism degree from Washington State University's Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. As FM Network Program Director, Eric oversees many aspects of JPR's broadcast day. He still hosts the occasional Open Air or classical music shift, and is the driving force behind JPR Live Sessions - our popular series of live in-studio music performances and interviews.