Maude’s Closet Concerts: Anna & Elizabeth
The Invisible Comes to Us is a new album from the pioneering partnership of Anna & Elizabeth. Released on the significant Smithsonian Folkways Recordings label, the record is a spellbinding reconfiguration of ancient folk ballads that sees the duos immersion in Appalachian music move to a place of boundless experimentation.
They combine a pair of powerful and very distinct voices. Elizabeth LaPrelle was raised in rural Virginia and is frequently lauded as the finest traditional singer of her generation. Anna Roberts-Gevalt is a multi-instrumentalist and experimenter whose musical curiosity has taken her from old-time fiddling in Kentucky to Brooklyns avant-garde community. Together they find new ways to tell old stories of love, loss and intrigue, while relishing the tension that arises between their very different backgrounds and orthodoxies. Holding firm to the roots of the music, they remove the limits of how that music can be played and presented.
Joining the duo on The Invisible Comes to Us are brass, woodwinds and synthesizers; drummer Jim White of The Dirty Three; and experimental pedal steel player Susan Alcorn, whose perceptive musicianship helped create the sonic worlds that Anna and Elizabeth visualized for these songs. The album was co-produced by Anna with Benjamin Lazar Davis from avant-pop outfit Cuddle Magic, who brought new technologies and tools to the pair'
s recording process; his partiality for structure and detail acted as a welcome counter-force to Anna's more intuitive composing methods.
These are songs we first heard in small archives in our home states, Vermont and Virginia, the duo wrote in the sleeve notes to the album. Recordings made in living rooms and kitchens, of songs learned in childhood. The characters, and the landscapes they occupied, grew rich in our minds. This record grew out of the desire to show you the world we saw in these songs.