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Rising Appalachia Delivers A Journey Through Appalachian Music and More

Rising Appalachia Delivers A Journey Through Appalachian Music and More

Justin Long

October 28th, 2019

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The Band:

Rising Appalachia is a group pioneered by sisters Leah and Chloe Smith. As second generation folk musicians, they acknowledge the Appalachian roots of their family, while creating a musical bridge to the modern scene. They have an almost fairy tail-esque backstory. They have done feats like touring British Columbia in a sailboat. Rising Appalachia’s inspirations come from independent prosperity and global activism. Truly, They are a larger than life performance, and create a positive impact on the world.

The Experience:

Rising Appalachia’s performance exceeded expectations for both their frequent fans and fresh recruits. The experience had it all. There was astounding displays of musicianship, groovy breakdowns and thought provoking messages. Leah and Chloe, the two front-women radiate wisdom from years of world traveling and activism. In summary, this commanding performance delivered a journey through Appalachian music, hip hop, world music, and more.

Indeed, as the Sisters grew up in a musician’s family, they have an almost telepathic dynamic playing on stage. It’s hard to not be in awe of their seamless harmonies and captivating body language. Not only do they sing, but Leah also plays Banjo and bodhran, a traditional Irish drum. Meanwhile, Chloe plays fiddle and guitar. The arsenal of unique instruments and charismatic players made the performance very engaging.

Through their music they build a bridge for different cultures and art forms. Leah exclaimed to the crowd that Arouna Diarra, a musician from West Africa, has just passed his citizenship test. Arouna had a smile from ear to ear as he received a roaring applause in response. It was a powerful moment for progressive thinking and global empathy. Furthermore, It was a testimony to their activist based agenda.

The Performance:

Their set offered an abundance of World music influences. Arouna showcased his homemade instrument (pictured below) that looks like a hybrid of a harp, guitar and a traditional West African bolon. In addition, the drummer had a very unique percussion set up, composed of African drums and western cymbals. His rhythmic feel was flawless and he added a mysterious flow to the music with Afro-cuban and Eastern World rhythms. Meanwhile, the stand-up bass player lead the groove of the song. He conquered the stage with a solo performance that initiated the encore. Additionally, his dramatic performance that showcased his Classical chops gave a fresh presentation of their popular song “Downtown”.

Leah and Chloe’s childhood was influenced by the Atlanta Hip-Hop scene. Noticeably, their set contained breakdowns with the back bones of Hip-Hop rhythms. The transition from heartfelt melodies into irresistibly dance-able beats was incredibly satisfying. Furthermore, they played songs like Medicinetowards the end that really elevated the energy in the room. Additionally, they played a bunch of fresh new songs of their new album Leyline. The second track off the album, “Harmonize”, was incredible live and had a complex composition that left the listener with chills down the spine.


Rising Appalachia’s show was a very memorable experience to say the least. It’s no surprise that they have been able to prosper independently and entertain so many diverse crowds. Clearly, the whole band is composed of seasoned and talented musicians who can perfectly execute a set with smooth transitions. So many of their songs contain positive messages that this World needs. In conclusion, the show at the Odgen Theatre last Sunday was a captivating performance that immersed the crowd into the journey of Rising Appalachia’s music. If you’re looking for a beautiful escape and an uplifting experience, Rising Appalachia is not a band you can afford to miss.

Rising Appalachia

Photos by Summer Taylor / Written by Justin Long

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