Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle just released their second album as a duo, a self-titled collection of spine-tingling mountain ballads and gospel songs. These two amazing young women faithfully evoke the hard life and simple joys of traditional Appalachian music on banjo and guitar, with harmonies that encourage the listener to lean close and absorb every nuance. If like me, you love the pure, unadorned music of the common man, look no further. These songs shimmer like genuine hard-core red-clay diamonds.
LISTEN: Soldier and the Lady
And that’s not all–Anna and Elizabeth host a radio variety show, they create and promote the lost art of crankies, and they present school programs. A crankie is a panoramic scene, rolled up inside a box, then hand-cranked so that it scrolls across a viewing screen, to illustrate a ballad song that is simultaneously performed live. In the mid 19th century, they were called moving panoramas, but the term crankie is being used now to refer to this very old art form. Here is a crankie that was hand-sewn by Anna and Elizabeth to illustrate the traditional ballad The Devil’s Nine Questions. (The men here are Jefferson Hamer and Eamon O’Leary, a duo known as the Murphy Beds.)
The Floyd Radio Show is a monthly old-time variety show consisting of radio plays, comedy bits, ads, jingles, and traditional music in its most authentic forms. Each show features some the area’s finest old-time musical acts, from storytelling banjo players to flat-picking guitarists to hard-driving string bands. It’s hosted by Anna and Elizabeth and held at the famous Floyd Country Store, an epicenter of old-time mountain music.