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Cassandra Wilson: 'The Guitar Is My Heart'

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Cassandra Wilson was once described by Time magazine as "America's best singer." Wilson was born in segregated Mississippi — also the birthplace of the blues — but she's always been on a journey to explore other sounds and influences.

The latest stop on her journey is the new album Another Country, a collaboration with Italian-born guitarist Fabrizio Sotti. Wilson says that as a young girl, she was eager to learn the guitar and asked her father to teach her — but he refused.

"He said no — he wouldn't teach me. He gave me a guitar and a Mel Bay book to learn the chords and teach myself," Wilson tells NPR's David Greene. "He did that because I had just finished seven years of piano lessons, and of course piano lessons were very restrictive. And he wanted me to develop a relationship with an instrument that was much more intimate, and a relationship that I initiated.

"It worked out well for me," she says. "I still love the piano, but the guitar is my heart."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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