Had some new arrivals to my music collection last couple of days, the first is Sierra Hull’s “Daybreak” album (2011), Nickel Creek’s “Why Should The Fire Die?” (2005), Shawn Colvin’s “Fat City” (1992); and an aspiring New Zealand artist Hannah Bright’s “Miss Bright” EP (2012).
Sierra Hull is (or was in 2011) a 19-year old singer / songwriter / mandolin player – I bought this album on a spur of the moment decision and I must say it’s pretty stunning if you enjoy Bluegrass style Country (I can’t actually believe I just wrote that – 10 years ago the only Country I’d have listened to is Alison Krauss & the Cowboy Junkies). Anyway this is a wonderful album, lovely melody and that ‘golden glow’ to the sound that you get with multiple string instruments. Sierra has a wonderful voice and is obviously a very accomplished musician. I’m not going to wax too lyrical here, as you can read more about “Daybreak” on Wildy’s World, and that says as much as I ever could, and there's more at Sierra Hull’s Official Website. For more general information check her out on Wikipedia.
Talking Bluegrass I've been a fan of Nickel Creek for some time, their connection with Alison Krauss being what caused me to discover them when their self-titled album came out in 2000. My latest addition "Why Should The Fire Die?" (2005) is their fifth (and third major) album, and also the last prior to their break up in 2007. Described as Progressive Acoustic and such like they've always been really a Bluegrass group to me. This album sees them become much more of a Country-Rock type band, and certainly earns them their more recent Progressive Acoustic label. Once again it’s an excellent album for production quality and featuring some quite subtlely complex music and again I won't wax on as there are plenty of reviews for this album, one that I feel is quite good (and very succinct) is at the BBC. You can also check out Nickel Creek's Official Website, and Wikipedia, if you aren't familiar with them...
Shawn Colvin is an old favourite of mine, a greatly under rated singer-songwriter who I believe is in the class of Eleanor McEvoy, Gillian Welch, and others, but who never really seems to get the recognition. I've had most of her albums for some time, but not all, and "Fat City" (1992) was a recent purchase towards completing her catalogue in my collection. While obviously pre-dating "A Few Small Repairs" (1996 - her big breakthrough album) by several years, it still shows much of her talent and promise realised on that later album. I've seen Shawn described as Country-Rock but I don't know if that's really a true genre, she very much seems to drift across multiple folk, country-rock, semi-indie, and alternative genres, makign it hard to truly pigeon hole her. There's a great summary and set of reviews of Shawn's early albums (including "Fat City" at Don Ignacio's page, and her official website is here. As usual there's an entry on Wikipedia too.
Miss Bright is an aspiring New Zealand musician, who is currently doing a degree in classical music composition at a NZ university, and has been a finalist in the Lilburn Endowment Trust University Composers Competition with a classical string composition. Her "Miss Bright" EP is, I believe, Hannah Bright's first foray into recording & publishing her music. The EP features 3 tracks, the first two "Dry Bones" and "C'mon Girl" (my personal favourite), are poppy numbers, and the girls may well want to get up and dance to the second one. However the final track "You" is the real stand out, this soulful ballad features Hannah playing piano and hinting at what she might become in the future. Hannah's EP is available to download at Bandcamp, for free or make a donation.