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    Rising Appalachia with Lyla June

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    Overview

    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.

    As the name connotes, the band’s sound arises most directly from the old-time music traditions that were passed down from Leah and Chloe’s parents, who often took the young girls to fiddle camps and gatherings in the Appalachian Mountains. Their home was in a different setting altogether, though. It lay smack dab in the heart of urban Atlanta Georgia, a humble craftsman house where, on most afternoons, fiddle tunes and blues guitar still get played by their mother and father. The traditional melodies within can blend with the city’s other sounds: a passing car’s subwoofers shaking out deep drum and bass notes, and some accordion driven boleros from a soccer match down the road. It’s not hard, sitting on their porch, to understand where this band’s persuasive and powerful new genre of acoustic folk comes from - one that melds old-time music with a thick rhythm section, southern soul with West African instrumentation and an occasional Colombian love song thrown in. The diverse influences converge through the voices of Leah and Chloe, which go together as only two siblings’ can.

    Rising Appalachia with Lyla June