Two of the most accomplished musicians in bluegrass – certainly two of the most notable women players in the history of the music – have joined together on a mind-blowing chamber-grass duet. Alison Brown, the first woman to win the Banjo Player of the Year Award from the IBMA, and Sierra Hull, the first woman to win Mandolin Player of the Year, joined forces on Brown’s recent album, On Banjo, and a classical-influenced original tune, “Sweet Sixteenths.”
Both Brown and Hull are virtuosic players adept in many styles and “Sweet Sixteenths” shows just how effortlessly they bring bluegrass improvisation and energy into what’s regarded as a more stoic format, creating an exciting, jaw-dropping, impossibly complicated – yet, totally down to earth – sound. Their synchronicity is just as impressive, inspiring a sort of wonder that chamber-grass is well known for: How much of this is planned out, and totally written-through, and how much is off-the-cuff and in the moment?
Bluegrass pickers are so well equipped to confound and delight us with these sorts of questions and that fact is no more apparent than in this live, studio performance video by Brown and Hull. We hope you also enjoy “Sweet Sixteenths.”