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Wednesday March 21, 2018

From The New Yorker

What Can An Old Folk Song Tell Us?
By: Robert Sullivan

Soundscapes are what Anna & Elizabeth are shooting for on this beautiful album. They sing so-called folk songs, but they use the arsenal of various musical genres—including jazz and avant-garde —to set these songs down in fields of breathy reeds (or, on several tracks, in the mind-bending playing of Susan Alcorn, the renowned pedal-steel-guitar player from Baltimore). Of late, old-time traditional music has functioned as a nexus for experimentation—Sam Amidon’s records are a recent example, though John Cage’s work with Irish traditional musicians is an earlier one—and it’s fitting that Anna & Elizabeth are releasing their album on Folkways in the year of the label’s seventieth anniversary. Folkways sees “The Invisible Comes to Us” as a future-facing album, and it is—especially in the way the album begins, if ever so gently, to confront the biases built into our archives of American music.

Read the whole article here