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When talented members of the same family get together to vocalize, the result is magical clarity and sweetness that’s impossible to manufacture or simulate. Such is the story of North Carolina’s The Maggie Valley Band; with sisters Caroline and Whitney Miller at the forefront, they bring that blood harmony to their own blend of Appalachia-infused traditional and original folk tunes.
On the band’s latest album, The Hardest Thing (due out February 9th) Grammy-nominated producer David Mayfield (The Avett Brothers, The Black Keys) directed the group through a new collection of songs dedicated to preserving musical history and lifting hearts. Today, they unleash “Sweet Anna,” a track from the album, one with a literary twist.
“‘Sweet Anna’ is unique in many different ways,” says Caroline Miller. “The first unique aspect of it is that it is based on Leo Tolstoy’s famous novel, Anna Karenina. This novel is my favorite and upon talking about it so much, Whitney told me to write a song about it. I wrote the lyrics in an afternoon and Whitney put the music to it and shortened the name to ‘Sweet Anna.’ It combines the love of literature with the love of music,” she continues. “It traces the relationship between a husband and wife, and a husband who is desperate to cling to his wife, despite her affair.” While most familiar with the novel might only see the husband’s cruelty, Caroline saw the grace that he displayed in his pursuit of his wife. The sisters are joined by producer Mayfield on the song, which makes it even more unique. “We first saw David in concert in 2009 and it changed our idea of Americana,” adds Caroline. “To be able to combine and enhance the storytelling with David’s unique voice was a major highlight.”