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Sarah Potenza "Granddad"

Back in January, I was doing some club hopping around Nashville, and I kept running into people who said they were playing for the Music Fog cameras the next week. I had booked a slew of bands for our upcoming video shoot at 3rd & Lindsley, but I wasn’t sure who they were playing with so I was a bit puzzled. I ran into Michael Webb first, and he said he was coming to see us. Then Joe McMahan said the same thing, and then I ran into Lisa Oliver-Gray, and finally I asked who she was coming to play with and she told me Sarah Potenza. AHA! Super cool. Sarah brought a big aggregation of folks, but it immediately felt like home with so many familiar faces.

It was our first time filming Ms. Potenza, whom you might know from her appearance on The Voice Season 8 last year. She has a new album, Monster, coming out in August, and is busy on the road with upcoming festival and club dates. See her in the Northeast this week, and then this weekend, Sarah swings down to play the venerable MerleFest in Wilksboro, NC, where I am sure she will blow the proverbial roof off. She brought a smoking hot band to us: Ian Crossman on guitar, Ron Eoff on bass, Josh Hunt on drums, Laura Mayo along with Lisa Gray on backing vocals, with Michael Webb on keys and Joe McMahan slinging guitar. “Granddad” is a haunting melody, performed here for the Music Fog cameras in a slower and more deliberate tempo than earlier versions you might see on the web. It reminds me of the simmering Bobby Gentry tune “Ode To Billie Joe.” Promise me this, you will go see Sarah Potenza when she comes your way. This here is powerful stuff!

- Jessie Scott


Sierra Hull "Queen of Hearts/Royal Tea"

So, here's a question. What were you doing when you were 13 years old? Me, I was playing kickball and trading baseball cards. (Wish I still had those!) Why is it that some people have such a clear path illuminated for them? Sierra Hull was already on her way at age 11, when Alison Krauss called her to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry to perform with her. Sierra signed her first record deal at 13, with Rounder Records, and for the decade the bluegrass world has been her home. The yearning came to reinvent, to explore, to push free, and at 24, with the aid of producer Bela Fleck, Sierra Hull has released the abum Weighted Mind. It is a major move toward artistic freedom.

This music is effortless, elegant, evocative. Bluegrass instrumentation and foundation gets new life breathed into it to become an orchestral expression. There are no structural limits. The coloration of the instruments, the voices, the interplay, all of this is simply delicious. Sierra Hull’s exploration is a testament to human restlessness. I can’t wait to see where her music takes her next.

Music Fog filmed Sierra Hull, along with Ethan Jodziewicz on upright bass and Justin Moses on banjo, at 3rd & Lindsley Backstage this past January. Here they are performing one of my favorite songs on the new album, "Queen Of Hearts/Royal Tea." Catch this trio on tour this spring. Enjoy, let your imagination run free.

- Jessie Scott