Banjoist Alison Brown enlists mandolin phenom Sierra Hull for a classical-inspired bluegrass, or “chamber-grass”, duet: “Sweet Sixteenths” in a new collaboration available now. The track is featured on Brown’s new record, On Banjo, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Albums Chart in May.

Filmed at Compass Sound Studio during the recording session featured on the album and named after a play on the underlying sixteenth note rhythmic subdivision, “Sweet Sixteenths” pays tribute to two different styles simultaneously. On the one hand, the incendiary yet delicate instrumental offers a tip of the hat to the bluegrass banjo/mandolin duets that banjoist Alan Munde and mandolinist Sam Bush recorded in the ‘70s; on the other, it draws inspiration from the harmonic movement and segmented structure of classical music—hence the “chamber-grass” moniker.

Related: Béla Fleck Performs “Whitewater” With Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, & Jerry Douglas At Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival [Watch]

“I’ve always loved the sound of the banjo and mandolin together and I wrote this tune specifically with Sierra in mind,” said Brown. “One of my favorite bluegrass albums when I was starting out was Sam Bush and Alan Munde’s Together Again for the First Time. Their banjo/mandolin duet on ‘Howdy in Hickman County’ really caught my ear. I was trying to capture some of that spirit though, admittedly, ‘Sweet Sixteenths’ has a few more notes!”

Brown went on to add, “Playing with Sierra is always a joy and I was thrilled that she was up for recording this with me. She has the most amazing touch and dexterity – I still have no idea how she was able to play the ascending run that used every fret on the first string, and nail it every time!”

Speaking to the duo’s creative partnership, Hull reflected, “Alison has long been one of my favorite collaborators in the studio so recording this duet was extra special. It’s really rewarding and exciting to work on a piece of music this complex with a fellow female musician. We shared a lot of laughs and smiles arranging and recording this!”

Related: Americana Dream: Sierra Hull & Mimi Naja Play The Grateful Dead’s “Black Muddy River” In Atlanta [Watch]

Watch Alison Brown and Sierra Hull perform “Sweet Sixteenths” from Brown’s new album, On Banjo, below. The album also includes collaborations with actor/comedian/banjoist Steve Martin and Kronos Quartet as well as fellow female virtuosos Sharon Isbin and Anat Cohen. Scroll down to listen to the album via Bandcamp or stream it via your preferred platform.

Alison Brown has upcoming tour dates around the U.S. Click below for a list of shows and visit her website for tickets.

Alison Brown – “Sweet Sixteenths” Featuring Sierra Hull

Alison Brown on Tour:

Thurs., Jun. 22 | UC Park & Market | San Diego

Fri., Jun. 23 | Musical Instrument Museum | Phoenix, AZ

Fri., Jul. 14 | Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival 2023 | Oak Hill, NY

Fri., Aug. 11 | The Ark | Ann Arbor, MI

Sat., Aug. 12 | Cain Park | Cleveland, OH

Sun., Aug. 13 | Homer Center for the Arts | Homer, NY

Mon., Aug. 14 | Chautauqua Institution | Chautauqua, NY

Fri., Sep. 8 | Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival | Bristol, TN/VA

Sat., Sep. 23 | FreshGrass Festival | North Adams, MA

View Tour Dates

Alison Brown – On Banjo