10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: May 2018

From the vocal knockout Tenille Townes to the Garth Brooks-endorsed Randall King

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Rising Appalachia
Chad Hess2/10

Rising Appalachia

Sounds Like: Protest music for the modern age, bolstered by delicate, skillful musicianship and otherworldly vocal harmonies

For Fans of: Abigail Washburn, I'm With Her, Hurray for the Riff Raff

Why You Should Pay Attention: Plenty of folks are writing politically inspired music these days, but not all of those artists are putting their money where their mouths are and doing work as activists. Sisters and bandmates Leah Smith and Chloe Song, who comprise Rising Appalachia, fall into that latter category, having participated in recent protests in support of water protectors at Standing Rock. Their newest song "Resilient," which they wrote in the wake of the 2016 presidential election and is the duo's first release since 2017's live album Alive, gives voice to taking action and hints at further socially conscious work to come.

They Say: "We are resilient," Chloe Smith says. "I am resilient. This song speaks to the potency of what it means to come back to one's original shape after being bent, broken, or compressed. It is not about favorable politics or preaching to the choir. It's about remembering that difficult times are the makeup of each of us, and we have the opportunity to triumph over that. This song came like wildfire from our hearts and found its way to the page on its own. Now, we sing it to the world and send it to anyone needing to be reminded of their own resilience."

Hear for Yourself: The ethereal, simply arranged "Resilient," which they performed at the recent Connect: Beyond the Page conference in Asheville, North Carolina, is a protest song tailor-made for our unique moment, its narrative of progress in the face of obstacles both empowering and comforting. B.M.

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