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Rising Appalachia

North Carolina-based folk and world troubadours Rising Appalachia are on the road touring behind their newest album, "Wider Circles." 

Sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith drew from a melting pot of genres when writing songs for the 15-track album. With influences of folk, soul, roots, world music and poetry, "Wider Circles" showcases the alchemy of sibling harmonies paired with banjo and fiddler duets. Joined by percussionist Biko Casini and stand-up bassist and baritone guitar player David Brown, the music pays tribute to folk standards, traditional hymns, old mountain odes and activities anthems. The band's sound pulls from the swampy bayou, the twang of the Appalachians and the beats of global rhythm.

"The album is a deep reflection of the many influences and experiences we have intimately lived and have built our songs on," Song says in a press release. “ 'Wider Circles' is a subtle and powerful folk anthem.”

The album’s release also signifies a new chapter in Rising Appalachia’s “slow music movement” approach to touring — an effort to promote sustainable touring practices and to be immersed in local communities.

“It’s an effort to take the glitz and glam out of the music industry and bring performance back to its roots," Song says. "A place where musicians are not just part of fast-paced entertainment, but instead influence the cultural shift as troubadours, activists and catalysts of justice. The ‘slow music movement’ encourages musicians to try out ‘non-industry standard’ ways of bringing music into the world by linking to local communities and staying with local friends; pursuing alternative venues for performances and supporting local businesses with farm-to-table hospitality; providing local nonprofits at each show a platform to display information; exploring alternative methods of travel including train, bike, low-impact vehicles, boat, horse, or simply focusing on regional touring; and encouraging concertgoers to take in more than just the catharsis of the music.”

Having toured many times across the U.S. and graced many stages around the world, Rising Appalachia’s vision and sound is quickly proving to be contagious. Their shows have included an array of community-run venues and collective events, as well as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Visual Arts in Washington, D.C., NPR’s "All Songs Considered," e-Town, The School of America Vigil, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass — an annual free and non-commercial music festival held the first weekend of October in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, Emory University's Schwartz Center in Atlanta, Beacon Theater in New York City, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Burning Man and more.

Rising Appalachia's self-sculpted career includes six independently released albums, including "Wider Circles," and has blazed a trail for a new generation of musician aficionados. Raised in the American South with lullabies at night and soul music for breakfast, Song and Smith draw great inspiration from the global community.

Percussionist Biko Casini, acoustic bass and baritone guitar player David Brown, multi-instrumentalist Leah Song and fiddler Chloe Smith are Rising Appalachia. Photo courtesy of Adam St. Simons