Born in Georgia, raised between hiphop and Appalachian folk music, and exploring the wide range of musical traditions across the globe through dusty suitcase travel, Rising Appalachia puts a unique stamp on the ears. Sisters Leah and Chloe tear into sound with sensual prowess as stages ingnite revolutions and words light soul fires. They bring poetic voices in divine harmonies, spoken word rallies, banjos, fiddles, many beats of many drums, kalimbas, spoons, washboard rants, and waves of bridge buildings... With an array of incredible collaborations, they are joined by everything from the stand up bass to the jazz trumpet, baliphone, congas, didgeridoo, tablas, beatboxing, poets, trapeze, burlesque, and more as their style branches out to form entirely new ways to make the stage electric...
Using sound as a tool to ignite a cultural revolution and birth a whole new movement, join Leah and Chloe to create our own art media in the making....
Leah Song-vocals, poetics, banjo, kalimba, fiddle, boudhran, and tinky percussive things
Chloe Smith-vocals, fiddle, banjo, washboard, kalimba, and percussion.
Imhotep- traditional New Orleans bass drum, m'bala, djembe, West African percussion, etc
Abram Racin- double bass
Forrest Kelly- beat box, hand percussion, fire spinning.
Leah and Chloe. self released. 2005.
Scale Down. Unwound Records. 2007
RISE ( Rising Appalachia)
Evolutions in Sound: LIVE
The Sails of Self
All albums are available for sale online (www.cdbaby.com), i-tunes, and select in-store locations.
**Also Rising Appalachia "Live ATL" is a 10-track collection of live recordings available only at their merchandise counter at concerts"
Rising Appalachia: Flipping the Script
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Music CD Release Rising Appalachia: Flipping the script City sisters reclaim their mountai...
Music CD Release
Rising Appalachia: Flipping the script
City sisters reclaim their mountain traditions
By Mosi Reeves
Creative Loafing Atlanta
The March 18 release party for Rising Appalachia's new disc, Scale Down, at Eyedrum was an unusually esoteric experience. A masked girl in roller skates wandered around, handing out Hershey's Kisses. Leah and Chloe Smith and frequent collaborator Forrest Kelly plucked violins, strummed washboards and toyed with weird, made-up instruments. (One looked like a piece of plywood with beer bottles glued on it.) After the set, a pair of trapeze artists performed on a swing, and the Smith sisters did some fire dancing.
"It was very freakish," Leah Smith says of that night. "There were costumes everywhere. There was an edge of art, and an edge of poetry as well as a focus on nonprofits and community involvement. Just standing on stage and looking at that audience, I smiled so much."
You could categorize Rising Appalachia as a pair of eccentric neofolkies. But doing so would leave out the jazz, bluegrass, Afro-Caribbean and even hip-hop forms the Smith sisters explore on Scale Down. At the very least, Scale Down is an expression of their urbane yet traditionally Southern personalities.
"I think Appalachian culture has been misrepresented as this very ignorant and uneducated culture," continues Leah, referring to cinematic potboilers such as Deliverance. "It's where the African slave community escaped and was able to do a lot of their music. Appalachian music is the music that was brought over from Africa and the music that was brought over from the Scotch and Irish immigrants."
The Smith sisters themselves were born and raised in Little Five Points. Their parents, however, are traditional Appalachian musicians who often took the girls to bluegrass and country music festivals around the Southeast. Years later, the Smith sisters are buskers themselves, releasing two CDs in two years â€“ a self-titled disc in December 2005 and Scale Down this month. They use their income to launch international tours, and will head to Slovenia, Italy and Ireland this spring.
"Last June, we moved out of our apartment here in Atlanta. We figured we needed to save all of our pennies. We've been staying with friends and family and touring as much as we can," Leah says. "We don't make a lot of money, but we don't have a lot of bills. So it's a nice kind of living."
Â©1996-2006 Creative Loafing Media - All Rights Reserved
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Talk about defying the stereotype â€“ sisters Chloe and Leah Smith are far from your typical hillbil...Talk about defying the stereotype â€“ sisters Chloe and Leah Smith are far from your typical hillbillies. As RISING APPALACHIA, the Atlanta-bred, Grady High graduates redefine mountain music with their urbanized folk. The sisters play a mean banjo and fiddle, but they don't stop there. On their new sophomore release, Scale Down, conga drums and other percussives fill out the fare thanks to new addition Forrest Kelly. The group's CD release party on Sun., MARCH 18, at Eyedrum features performances by members of Atlanta nonprofits, in addition to trapeze artists, stilt walkers and fire spinners. $8. 8:30 p.m. 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. 404-522-0655. www.eyedrum.org.
Rising Appalachia. Paste Magazine's Band of the week
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Writer: Mary Richardson , photo by Chad Hess 2007-03-12 Hometown: Atlanta, Ga./Asheville, N.C....
Writer: Mary Richardson ,
photo by Chad Hess
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga./Asheville, N.C.
Fun Fact: The group lives on the road in a biodiesel-fueled bus.
Why It's Worth Watching: The harmonious singing and instrumentation between sisters Leah and Chloe Smith paired with old-time lyrics feel like a step back, then forward.
For Fans Of: Gillian Welch, Ani Difranco, The Be Good Tanyas
Rising Appalachia stands for everything that tends to get swallowed up in a slick and shiny society. Itâ€™s the rise of a past lifestyle that is still rooted to the land. Drive up to one of the group's shows in a fancy car, and youâ€™ll want to leave on foot. And thatâ€™s the goal. By resurrecting and reinventing their parentsâ€™ nostalgic old folk and mountain music, sisters Leah and Chloe Smith pave the way back to lost simplicities and social responsibility.
â€œWe eventually want to have a whole section [of the music] dedicated to alternative fuels and political activism and human rights,â€ Leah says.
But as focused as the young women have become, theyâ€™d never planned to be an official group. They didnâ€™t even have a name when they recorded their first album a little more than a year ago, which was done as a Christmas present for friends.
â€œThe reception to [the first] album was really strong," Leah recalls. "People wanted us to perform all the time. It just kind of took over. Itâ€™s been a blessing because we were all very scattered and itâ€™s like weâ€™ve been guided.â€
As activists stumbling onto such a captivated audience, the only choice was to keep going and use the music as both a channel and a platform. â€œThis is such a huge tool," Leah says. "If we go ahead and work hard on our music, then our politics come back and we fill them in.â€
Rising Appalachia just wrapped up a second album, Scale Down, which will be out on March 18. It builds on the first, but this time only half the songs are traditional covers. The six original tracks, while remaining steeped in the sounds of banjo, fiddle, jaw harp, washboard, empty bottles, spoons and myriad other folk instruments, are also heavily influenced by political hip-hop, spoken word, vintage jazz and roots music. Percussionist Forrest Kelly brings additional influences into the fold, such as fire spinning, beatbox and junk percussion from the thriving indie-folk scene of his hometown, Asheville, N.C. Storytelling is also becoming a bigger part of the band's live performances.
While the group wants to remain open to evolution and new influences, Chloe says that its very important to her and her sister to remain rooted with an underground aesthetic. Currently, the trio lives on the road in a biodiesel-fueled bus, which Leah feels is important to staying in touch with the objective. â€œWeâ€™re essentially using the road to figure out where weâ€™re going," she says. "Itâ€™s a little intense right now, but I have to believe we can reach some people.â€
[After March 18, you can purchase Scale Down at Rising Appalachia's official website.]
Leah and Chloe. Rising Appalachia
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Leah and Chloe: Rising Appalachia Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine, Summer, 2006 by Tom Dru...Leah and Chloe: Rising Appalachia
Sing Out! The Folk Song Magazine,
by Tom Druckenmiller
Rising Appalachia: Chloe and Leah Smith
Itâ€™s finally starting to happen. A new generation of traditional players is beginning to emerge
from families that played or simply enjoyed old-time country music. Leah and Chloe Smith were
raised by a fiddling mother and guitar-picking father and were introduced to traditional music from
Appalachia at a very young age. Both sisters sing and play fiddle and banjo. From the sound of this,
their recording debut, they absorbed the music very well indeed.
Rising Appalachia opens with â€œGreasy Coatâ€ a vocal duet with dual banjo accompaniment.
The seldom-heard lyrics are a great addition and the simple banjo arrangement is quite effective.
â€œCamp Meeting on the Fourth of Julyâ€ follows with a Georgia melody that seems unfamiliar to my
ears. Chloeâ€™s fiddling has just the right to drive this gentle tune along.
â€œNobodyâ€™s Fault ...â€ features the vocals of the sisters along with friends Jan and Barbara and
the bass vocals of Maurice Turner. â€œSay Darlinâ€™ Sayâ€ is a tune frequently heard on contemporary old-
time recordings. The fact that their dad used to sing it to them as a lullaby further reinforces the
idea of a seed introduced at a young age that grows to become a lovely flower.
â€œFly Around My Pretty Little Missâ€ is an often played jam tune but I betcha you never heard it
with a trumpet! Maurice returns and echoes the melody with an unexbrass surprise. Henry Reedâ€™s
classic â€œDucks on the Millpondâ€ is further expanded by Leahâ€™s percussive support to Chloeâ€™s banjo.
Leahâ€™s solo banjo is highlighted on â€œLonesome Johnâ€ and the recording concludes with â€œTuli Tuliâ€ a
song from Namibia sung a cappella by the sisters. It is an unusual but beautiful ending to a fine
first recording by Leah and Chloe Smith, who have the great responsibility of carrying the tradition
well into the 21st century. -- TD
NPR. All Songs Considered. Open Mic
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Members of the progressive Appalachian band, Rising Appalachia Open Mic Rising Appalachia...Members of the progressive Appalachian
band, Rising Appalachia
Rising Appalachia: 'Say Darlin' Say'
Open Mic, October 31, 2006 Â· Before the days of O Brother Where Art Thou
and Cold Mountain, sisters Leah and Chloe Smith, of the band Rising
Appalachia, grew up in what they call "the bossom of the Southern
Appalachian music renaissance." Their fiddlin' mother and folk-sculpting
father harvested their love for traditional Appalachian music, and now, with
banjo, fiddle and harmonies in hand, they record their own takes of old tunes.
Their father used to sing "Say Darlin' Say," a track from their self-titled debut
CD, as a lullaby when he put the sisters to bed.
Calling their music "Progressive Appalachian Groove," Rising Appalachia
sometimes add the jaw harp, trumpet, djembe or spoons to the usual banjo and
fiddle in their tunes. "We came from hip-hop to hick-rock and love every
minute of it," says Leah. The young women met the newest member of the
band, Forrest Kelly, during their travels through the hills of Asheville, N.C.
Forrest lays his unique drumming and subtle rhythms over songs.
Collectively, the members have traveled and lived in Guatemala, Mexico,
Cuba, Puerto Rico, Holland, Spain, Alaska, Hawaii, Vancouver and across the
United States. They use Appalachian tradition to connect to other cultures, they say. Currently touring throughout
Europe, the band will return and tour the United States in March.
Galway Advertiser-Planet Sound
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( transcription of print & web text of July 19, 2007 review in Irelandâ€™s Galway Advertiser ) R... ( transcription of print & web text of July 19, 2007 review in Irelandâ€™s Galway Advertiser )
Scale Down ( Unwound Records )
RISING APPALACHIA are Atlanta
sisters Leah & Chloe Smith. Like
Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsome,
and Meg Baird, they follow a decidedly
individual path informed by the spirit
of 1960â€™s folk-rock.
Scale Down marries sparse folk,
Blues, jazz, and Gregorian chant, to
vocal styles informed by hip hop and
pop as much as folk. Backed by an
array of unusual instruments, this is
thankfully a world away from both dour
purism and much of the over-produced
The 1960â€™s influence looms large,
But the sisters have used the eraâ€™s
pioneering spirit to create an imaginative,
at times daring, album. Further proof that
the most creative folk music is arguably
coming out of America right now.
Kernan Andrews - Arts Editor
Galway Advertiser -The Week ( A & E section ) Planet of Sound
July 19, 2007
Our strongest set will run about 1hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half, preferably without a break. It includes a entourage of story telling and tales from the global road, new interpretations of roots music from around the world, and groove-based original songs that demand attention to the many political and social concerns facing our nation...
our sets change with each audience...however here is a general style:
-Lamb. 4 min (original)
- Sunu ( traditional W. African)
-Raleigh and Spencer. 6 min. (traditional Appalachian)
-Old Fashioned Morphine. 3 min (Jolie Holland)
-Fly Around Pretty Lil' Miss. 6 min (trad Appalachian)
-UNraveled. 4 min (original)
-Sail Away Ladies. 4 min (trad Appalachian)
- You Dont Miss Your Water
-Rage Breeds Rage. 4 min. (original)
-Tuli Tuli. 3 min. (Namibian chant)
-All Fence and No Doors. 6 min (original)
- Saint James Infirmery
-Scale Down. 5 min. (original. spoken word)
-Ain't No Sunshine. 4 min (Bill Withers)