Leah and Chloe Smith of Rising Appalachia (Photo courtesy of Rising Appalachia)
Rising Appalachia is a self-made success story. Sisters Leah and Chloe Smith — each world travelers for nearly two decades — merge multiple global music influences with their own Southern roots to create a unique world folk sound. The band has built a legion of listeners through relentless touring, tireless activism, and no small degree of stubborn independence.
After self-producing their first six albums, Leah and Chloe opted for the first time to team up with someone outside the band, legendary singer-songwriter/producer Joe Henry, to produce their seventh album, Leylines.
Parklife DC’s Ari Strauss emailed Chloe to ask about the new album and what is in store for the band’s upcoming show at The Hamilton Live on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
North Mississippi Allstars (Photo by Tom Bejgrowicz)
“World boogie” came to the District recently. That’s the term the North Mississippi Allstars use for their Hill Country blues-based, hard-rocking, seriously funky style. For some three hours, the NMA jammed out in front of a packed house at The Hamilton. Based in tradition but looking to the future, the NMA showed the audience just what is possible when creative, forward-looking artists put their spin on roots music.
Chris Jacobs performs at Levon Helm Studios on Nov. 10, 2019. (Photo by Andrew Gardecki)
Baltimore’s own Cris Jacobs kicked off his set at The Hamilton Live recently with “Rooster Coop,” and there was indeed “something funky in the barnyard.” “Rooster Coop” perfectly captures the Cris Jacobs Band experience: it’s vaguely Americana, but with deep, funky R&B grooves. Cris is not the only artist to delve into “Americana soul,” as he calls it — Chris Stapleton’s style could be similarly characterized — but Cris also brings a jam band sensibility to the affair.
Con Brio performs at The Hamilton Live on Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo by Rashad Polk)
The stage at The Hamilton was recently host to one of the funkiest bands to come out of the San Francisco Bay area — Con Brio. While Con Brio can easily be compared to other legendary groups from the same area such as Sly and the Family Stone or Tower of Power, another group that comes to mind is Metallica. Though there isn’t too much in common on the surface, both bands seem to continually deliver on the promise of their respective band names.
John Mayall (Photo by David Gomez)
The Hamilton introduced John Mayall on Thursday evening as “the godfather of British Blues.” In his sixth decade as a professional musician, the 85-year-old Mayall still appears pretty spry, and he remained on his feet for his entire performance. John is just as well-preserved mentally, and he filled the transitions between songs with informative context and droll British wit.
Amanda Shires performs at The Hamilton Live in DC on Aug. 17, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)
A strong crowd turned out for Amanda Shires’s “music show,” as she put it, at The Hamilton recently. At the beginning of her set, the lights dimmed and Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” played as Amanda and her band took the stage. Amanda began with material from the critically acclaimed album she released last year, To the Sunset, slinging her electric guitar, appropriately enough, on “Break Out the Champagne.”
Teddy Scott (left) and Paul Gregg (right) of Bencoolen perform at The Hamilton Live, Aug. 10, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss/ aristrauss.com)
DC-based Bencoolen performed an opening set at The Hamilton Live recently, delivering an energized 45-minute set to warm the crowd for the jazz/funk sextet Naughty Professor from New Orleans.