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Real Dalle

For local singer/songwriter Larissa Dalle, sad songs say so much

"We really only had two weeks to come up with a song, and I didn't want to cover a Christmas song," she says. "I have this book from the '50s called The Lonely Doll -- I really love children's books, especially spooky children's books. It's photographs of this doll and a stuffed bear; they almost look real. The creepy thing about that book is that I was told it was kind of autobiographical, that the author's mom kind of treated her like a doll, kept her locked away and wouldn't let her see any friends. That was kind of a coffee-table book at my house. Anyway, that was the first song where I remember being in the studio during the final mix and thinking, 'Wow, that sounds like a real song!'"

Asked whether she really believes she's here to make people depressed, as her "Theme Song" chorus proclaims, Dalle demurs: "Once, I really felt like that was my role. Not so much now. I think somehow I'm getting beyond that." So should we prepare ourselves for a new, perkier Larissa Dalle? She laughs: "I don't know if it's so much perkier -- maybe just less self-abusive. I think there's still room for sad songs, but not necessarily all about me. The bottom line used to be trying to make the other person feel what I felt. I felt pretty crappy for a long time, and I don't know if it's such a good idea, ethically, to have that as a motivation."

Larissa Dalle: "I've just always been attracted to sad, tragic songs, all my life."
Larissa Dalle: "I've just always been attracted to sad, tragic songs, all my life."

Lately Dalle has been spending a lot of time in the country, on the Rook family farm in Potosi, where beagles abound. "Mostly my big hobby is beagle attention and awareness," she says. "On the Rook estate, there are beagles and pigs -- that's a pig on the CD cover, behind the beagle. I really thought I'd like pigs, but they're kind of stinky, and there are always, like, 500 flies. The country really isn't as romantic as it sounds. But there's always something new -- you never know what you're going to find out there." The same might be said of Dalle's take on country music: not exactly romantic, maybe, but always surprising.

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