Leah Song and Chloe Smith, founding sisters of Rising Appalachia, have long witnessed themselves – by both choice and coincidence – carrying harmony into settings of upheaval and discord. Soon after their eponymous release in 2006, the siblings moved to New Orleans to assist in rebuilding efforts following Katrina. There they gained not only a deeper sense of connection to the roots of American music, but also an abiding sense of purpose as musicians.
The band, which has now grown to include musicians David Brown on upright bass and baritone guitar, and Biko Casini on world percussion, has settled into its stride and purpose through creating original music with a mission, rooted in the traditions of folk songs, storytelling, and grass roots activism. The band manages to meld traditions and genres the same way Leah and Chloe blend their voices; it’s casual, beguiling, and effortlessly singular.
In support of their last studio album, Wider Circles (2016), the band travelled the US by rail, and in then in 2017, they toured the gulf islands of British Columbia in a wooden sailboat named La Libertatia. Accompanied by a film crew and a hearty bunch of sailors, they played shows on farms across the islands in support of issues such as food justice, indigenous rights, and protecting clean water.