“New Orleans is super special for Leah and I,” says Chloe Smith, who along with her sister Leah Song, fronts the wildly popular world-folk group Rising Appalachia. “We lived here for about seven years. It’s our soul home. We learned so much music here and we wrote so much music here.” Her words can be heard introducing the group’s crowd-favorite tune, “Indigo Dance,” on their brand new release, Live From New Orleans at Preservation Hall—available for download or streaming now. Fans take note: 10% of all streaming profits from this record will be donated to the Preservation Hall Foundation which exists to create greater awareness and appreciation for traditional New Orleans Jazz and the communities that support it.
Arriving in the Big Easy in 2007 to a city still reeling from Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, Leah and Chloe were not only struck by the music. The resolve of New Orleanians shone brightly on the pair. “We lived there for seven years, soaking in the jazz and brass, the spirit of its people,” remembers Chloe. “Naturally, those sounds seeped into our music, as well as into our identity as Southerners.”
During the development of Rising Appalachia as we know it today, Leah and Chloe cut their teeth busking in New Orleans’ French Quarter, just a few short blocks from the iconic Preservation Hall, a 19th-century Creole townhouse later transformed into a non-profit performance art space in 1961. Preservation Hall brought musical traditions under the same roof before they were legally allowed to perform together. Hosting intimate acoustic concerts 350 nights per year for over half a century, Preservation Hall is a quintessential pilgrimage in the birthplace of Black American music.
So in January 2021, with the pandemic in full swing and neither Rising Appalachia nor Preservation Hall staging events with live audiences, the band was invited to collaborate with the distinguished institution and produce a live-stream concert to bring Rising Appalachia’s signature sound and the spirit of New Orleans into people’s homes around the globe. The electric performance, brimming with full band dynamics and exploring the deeper annals of Rising Appalachia's NOLA-centric songbook with the help of Aurora Nealand (clarinet, accordion) and Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s Branden Lewis (trumpet), was captured for all to enjoy in the form of Live From New Orleans at Preservation Hall.
Fans can download or stream Live From New Orleans at Preservation Hall today at this link, and be sure to stay tuned for more exclusive videos from Rising Appalachia’s 2021 performance by visiting risingappalachia.com.
Rising Appalachia’s 2022 tour concludes next week with a run of shows through Florida. A full list of dates can be found below or at risingappalachia.com/tour. Throughout the past year, Rising Appalachia have also been dropping standalone singles for their rabid fanbase. Check out “Thank You Very Much” (which PopMatters dubbed “a meditation on the road traveled thus far”) and a haunting cover of James Blake’s “I Need A Forest Fire” at their respective links.
Live From New Orleans at Preservation Hall Tracklist:
Just a Closer Walk With Thee - Live
Indigo Dance - Live
Stand Like An Oak - Live
Catalyst - Live
Shed Your Grace - Live
Long Haul - Live
Find Your Way -Live
Silver - Live
River Mouth - Live
Downtown - Live
St. James Infirmary - Live
Resilient - Live
Catch Rising Appalachia On Tour:
Nov. 17 - Deland, FL - Café Da Vinci
Nov. 18 - Stuart, FL - Terra Fermata
Nov. 19 - St. Petersburg, FL - Jannus Live
Nov. 20 - Miami Beach, FL - North Beach Bandshell