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World Music CD Reviews North American

Leah & Chloe

By Marty Lipp
Published March 20, 2007

Rising Appalachia
Rising Appalachia

If you think that only old grizzled men play old-time Appalachian music, think again. Leah & Chloe are young women, sisters actually, who play banjo and fiddle, capturing the unadorned rustic spirit of this rural American idiom. The two play small venues and festivals, as well as doing street busking in the U.S. and abroad. While they look more like jam-band fans than backwoods players—and even do the occasional fire dance—they are dedicated to the folk tradition and play it, for the most part, straightforwardly. The only twists on tradition are the occasional forays off the reservation: on “Rising Appalachia,” they do some sibling harmony on a gospel-flavored tune, as well as singing a sad Irish song. The sisters’ strength is their weakness. By playing it straight, they don’t distinguish themselves, yet for those who enjoy the simple folk ethic, this clean, modern production will provide enjoyable listening.