Anna & Elizabeth: Sun To Sun

Virginia singer and banjo player Elizabeth LaPrelle is almost certainly the finest young singer of traditional Appalachian mountain songs. Her album Birds’ Advice was reviewed here a couple of years ago. Now she is back as one half of a duo with another fine singer Anna Roberts-Gevalt. In fact, this debut album is one which slipped by us unnoticed last year and a second album from the pair is already being scheduled for release in March.

One of the best things about Anna and Elizabeth is their sheer simplicity and lack of artifice. Their website describes the album as “13 traditional songs from Virginia and Kentucky, fiddle, banjo, guitar, two voices.” Well yes, that’s exactly what it is, but the hard work which must have gone into creating the seemingly effortless way they sing and play everything is something that must also be acknowledged.

anna & elizabeth

Elizabeth’s stark voice captures the feeling of these songs perfectly and the addition of Anna’s vocals and musicianship makes for a compelling ride. Four of the songs are sung unaccompanied and there are two instrumentals featuring Anna’s fiddle and Elizabeth’s banjo. The songs were mostly learned from local sources and Anna and Elizabeth write in their CD notes: “we are deeply inspired by the stories and generosity of people in these mountains, who have woven this music into their homes and community-making”. And so the song ‘Lone Pilgrim’ may be familiar to Bob Dylan fans as a track on his World Gone Wrong album but the version here was inspired by Kentucky ballad singer Addie Graham.

In addition to the thirteen tracks there is a video of ‘The Lost Gander’. This is a banjo tune from Tennessee by way of Mike Seeger and is one of Anna and Elizabeth’s ‘crankie’ music videos. These are original shadow puppet shows created by the duo to their own music accompaniment.

Sun To Sun is available through the Anna & Elizabeth website:

www.annaandelizabeth.com

 

 

 

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