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 ryhthms over songs.
Collectively, the members have traveled and lived in Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Holland, Spain, Alaska, Hawaii, Vancover 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.