Annalisa Tornfelt, the Alaska-raised musician best known as the singer and fiddle player for Black Prairie, grabbed her “Black Beauty” Arch Kraft guitar and an analog 8-track to record her unadorned, front porch solo album, The Number 8 (March 10 / Woodphone Records).
“I asked Annalisa to play a few fiddle tunes with me, which soon flipped to her picking up a guitar and singing Hank Williams,” says her Black Prairie bandmate, Chris Funk. “It was simple, but it was stunning. It’s those moments when she grabs the all to familiar guitar and sings a song that you realize your bandmate and friend has the unique gift and power to make the weight of the world lift for three minutes.”
“In Alaska, I was raised on classical music, Disney, and Chuck Mangione’s Children of Sanchez,” says Annalisa, who began playing bluegrass decades ago. She recently discovered rock and roll, when Black Prairie asked her to sing “The Song Remains the Same” (for Laura Veirs’ New Year’s Eve show, “Two Beers Veirs.”) Some of the songs on The Number 8 go back 10 years, and the mysterious third instrument on there is the nyckelharpa, a Swedish harp formerly owned by Peter Buck. He gave it to Annalisa after hearing her play. “The sounds she coaxed from the wood and strings seemed to put her in a trance,” adds Scott McCaughey of the Minus 5. “She even taught us how to spell it.”
“Don’t be fooled by this angel you see, lest you miss out on the compelling darkness just beneath the surface of her music,” adds Nate Query (Black Prairie).
In addition to the regular channels, The Number 8 will be distributed through Annalisa’s original plan: mail a letter and check to her PO Box and she’ll respond with a postcard, vinyl or CD and, inspired by a framed Patsy Cline promo pic in the violin studio that smiles down on her, a signed, glossy 8×10.