This month, Rising Appalachia, the Southern-based folk band lead by sisters Chloe Smith and Leah Song, released their new single “Resilient,” an anthem for seeking calm in the chaos-storm that has descended upon American and the world at large. On May 1st, American Songwriter Magazine premiered "Resilient," praising the track as "...simple, beautiful music." Last week, NPR Music's Bob Boilen championed the video, premiering it on All Songs TV calling the track an "...uplifting, original folk song for these challenging times." Also last week, Rolling Stone Country named the band in their roundup 10 Country Artists You Need to Know commenting that "Resilient" sounds like "protest music for the modern age, bolstered by delicate, skillful musicianship and otherworldly vocal harmonies."
The healing power of music is on full display with “Resilient,” a song written while touring the Pacific Coast after the United States 2016 presidential election because “I needed to hear those very words myself... to remind me to be my highest self in the face of chaos and adversity, and to use my platform to encourage others to do the same” says Chloe. She continues, “...honestly, with so much animosity in the country it was challenging to muster up the energy for the public every night on stage. There was a deeper need to internalize and be more private, to sit with the bones of our work and re-envision what we would be doing in the years to come.”
As fate would have it, the ‘Resiliency Tour’ led to linking up with the International Indigenous Youth Council who invited Rising Appalachia to perform at the center fire for a few days in Standing Rock after the water cannons were blasted at peaceful water protectors-- the irony palpable. Chloe points out that “...honor was not broken despite the pipeline going through. The whole world witnessed the resilient power of that movement, we too remembered our place in the turning of the tides.” The following month of tour was both rich and healing for Rising Appalachia; full of community dialogue, meet and greets, and honest connection through story and song-- the songwriters reminded of what it means to be resilient, and were returned to their original shape after being bent and broken.
“Resilient” reveals both vulnerability and strength in the search for that which can't be silenced. Leah comments, “After everything that has happened in these past couple of years, and is still happening, we need to remember that we the people are resilient, and can become more so. To live with hope in a time where apathy is rampant--even excessive-- in a great act of resistance. What we choose to bring into our focus in this life will greatly affect our very own reality let alone the world around us.”
Long time allies and defenders of indigenous rights, social justice and ecological protection, it’s no surprise that with “Resilient,” Rising Appalachia captured the angst and helplessness oft felt by both victims and activists. The track speaks to the soul in poetic honesty, backed by banjo and bodhran, urging listeners to get back up again and to find pathways of strength and empowerment when confronted with conflict. When rooted in compassion and education-- we can become resilient. When we listen more and talk less-- we can become resilient.
Their sound and message, as revealed in the newest single, “Resilient,” suggest that voices and traditions, brought together through song, may be one of the saving graces to a world in distress. In a time when the fabric of community and culture often appear to be unraveling, their interweaving of music and mission, old traditions with new interpretations, creates an atmosphere of contagious hope and bliss.
Listen to "Resilient" here: https://fanlink.to/KR4
About Rising Appalachia:
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, despite being raised in Atlanta. The band’s persuasive and powerful new genre of acoustic folk melds old-time music with a thick rhythm section, southern soul with West African instrumentation and an occasional Colombian love song thrown in.
In addition to their original approach to their music, the band has embraced a similar independent spirit with their touring. Outside of many industry norms, they have built a significant, loyal following as evidenced by recent sold out shows across the U.S, Canada, Australia and throughout Europe.
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. The band routinely provides a platform for the causes local to the cities they play, and frequently incite their fans to gather with them in converting vacant or under-used lots into verdant urban orchards and gardens. Both onstage and off, Rising Appalachia exudes a sense of rootedness, playful exploration, and inspired action.
5/22 – Portland, ME – Aura
5/23 – Allston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
5/24 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
5/26 – Cumberland, MD – Delfest
5/27 – Philadelphia, PA – World Cafe Live
6/1 – Taos, NM – Music on the Mesa Festival
6/2 – Berkeley, CA – UC Theatre – Seva Foundation
7/6, 7, 8 – Winnipeg, MB – Winnipeg Folk Festival
7/22 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre *The String Cheese Incident support
8/2, 3, 4, 5 – Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon
9/28 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater
9/29 – Bellvue, CO – Mishawaka Amphitheatre