Enter sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith floating forward on a swampy waterway beneath a tunnel of Spanish moss-covered live oaks, singing a sweet lullaby to the bayou.
Cut to a montage of clips that transport you to a childhood experience of the South, one set between the sprawling urban cityscape of Atlanta and the rural foothills of Appalachia—a family steeped in rustic American roots with parents bearing witness to its preservation.
Listen to the quintessential trifecta of fiddle, banjo, and guitar laying down the soundtrack, a harmonic embodiment of the South. Cut to the vivid color pallets and familiar faces of the Crescent City, an exquisite visual elixir of vibrancy and soul. Connect with a community, roll your sleeves up, and get your hands dirty. Organize, inspire, take action, and make sure to have a smile on your face while doing it.
“Come To Life: Rising Appalachia” is a creative documentary-style short film about the band’s music and their mission as activists. The film was shot on location in New Orleans during Jazz Fest (where the sisters spent the earlier part of their career cutting their teeth busking in the streets of the French Quarter), produced by award-winning filmmaker Cyrus Sutton (founder and creative director of Korduroy.tv ; an online media site that explores sustainability and the outdoors), and sponsored by the certified organic, non-GMO, fair-trade, B-Corp Yerba Mate brand Guayakí.
The film explores the sisters’ musical upbringing in a family steeped in rustic American roots tradition with parents bearing witness to its preservation. A melting pot of folk music, Rising Appalachia is simplistic and textured, both genre bending and familiar at the same time. The group’s songwriting highlights the sisters’ bloodline vocal harmonies and incorporates elements of clawhammer banjo, fiddle, double bass, and acoustic guitar, along with percussive world instrumentation such as the djembe, barra, and bodhran.
The release of “Come To Life: Rising Appalachia” coincides with the band’s embarkment on the 2017 Sea to Seed Tour—a two-week sailboat tour through the gulf islands of British Columbia featuring a luminary assemblage of musicians, farmers, filmmakers, writers, and photographers, all coming together with the common goal of promoting a culture of resilient localized food systems, ethical farming, seed saving, and community building.
Organized by Over Grow The System, the tour will host a number of workdays, concerts, and farm-to-table feasts as a means of creating connections within and between the communities on the islands visited and a growing network of allies. The stories shared along the way will be filmed for another documentary-style short film, with a tentative release date in the fall of 2017.
The music and mission of “Rising Appalachia” embodies the organic ethos and their methodology as artists and activists exemplifies what that has the potential to look like off-stage. From permaculture action days in community gardens with friends, fans, and family, to regional tours by alternative modes of transportation such as train and sailboat, Rising Appalachia is digging deep, planting seeds, and slowing things down. Slow like the South that they call home.
Watch “Come To Life: Rising Appalachia”:
Author: Adam St. Simons
Image: Come To Life Films presents Rising Appalachia
Editor: Travis May