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Power In Simplicity In 'Black Is The Color'

by NPR Staff
Oct 10, 2010 (Weekend Edition Sunday)

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In a world of highly produced pop music, where the vocals share the stage with a variety of instruments, the notion of a single voice singing without an accompaniment sounds almost revolutionary. In this week's "What's In A Song," we meet Elizabeth LaPrelle from Rural Retreat, Va.

LaPrelle sings ballads that resonate like an old fiddle. She remembers coming across one of her favorite songs years ago when she was leafing through a book of ancient mountain tunes.

"I flipped to the page and I was like, 'Oh yea, Black Is The Color,' and I hadn't practiced it, but I started to sing it and I just felt ... so awesome," she says. "I felt like I was doing it right."

"It's a touching song about separated love," she continues. "There's this sense of longing to the song, but also this bitter edge. ... I think the fact that it is so spare, just one person speaking, people aren't used to that. Suddenly they're just riveted to these words that are coming out. it can be really terrifically moving. I love it a lot."

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