When sisters Leah and Chloe Smith set out to start a band in 2005, they began with one goal: to preserve roots music. For 12 years now as Rising Appalachia, they’ve been doing just that, melding folk sounds from around the world into interpretations both faithful and contemporary.
Their soulful world craft has seen what began as a duo project for the Smiths transform into a full-blown band. Featuring instrumentation on anything from banjos and washboards to djembe and didgeridoo, the band’s unique blend also features Biko Casini and David Brown. Together, they’ve toured the world, opening for acts like Michael Franti, Damien Rice, and the Avett Brothers.
Their latest release is appropriately titled Alive, given that it’s a collection of live performances. Given that the music of Rising Appalachia in such a setting also sets to liven their crowd, there’s a double meaning present.
The 11 performances presented on Alive are nothing short of raw, unfiltered perfection. The band works to unify with their music, playing in harmony with their audience. The mood is palpable, and it is light and energizing.
“It’s a play on words in a way,” says Leah and Chloe Smith on the album. “It’s a collection of live recordings, which have a very different sentiment than our studio recordings. But perhaps, more importantly, it is a collection of songs that are telling of the time.”
“A time where the veil has been lifted, and people want to be present and work to make this crazy world more just and humane. We hope that our music can, in fact, be a tool in this awakening of consciousness, encouraging people to become more aware, more engaged, and more awake.”