It’s important to note that bluegrass singer-musician Sierra Hull is only about halfway through her twenties. Though a seasoned, confident player who has been recording since before she was a teenager, Hull is still subject to the same confusion felt by any young person trying to find a place in the world.
In “Black River,” which appears on Hull’s forthcoming album Weighted Mind, she describes the aftermath of a messy uncoupling. “A thousand years is but a day, they say, and maybe in a thousand more I’ll find my way,” she intones over a skeletal arrangement of octave mandolin and bass. The voices of roots music all-stars Alison Krauss, Rhiannon Giddens and Abigail Washburn all join her for an eerie, slightly unsettling round of harmonies.
“‘Black River’ was written from a place of longing, to get from where I was at the time to wherever the next place would be,” notes Hull. “Completing this album and finally being able to share it little by little feels like I’m finally getting to that next place. I wanted the video for this song to reflect that feeling.”
The “Black River” video plays up the idea of being emotionally stranded, with shots of Hull getting drenched in a storm and lying on a bed in the woods. A shadowy, robed figure — possibly another aspect of Hull’s psyche — follows her around and eventually runs her off. As with the song, her conflicts in the video remain unresolved and out of reach.
Weighted Mind was produced by banjo master Bela Fleck and arrives via Rounder Records on January 29th. Hull has a full touring calendar ahead in 2016, including an album release show January 28th at Nashville’s City Winery.