Exclusive Premiere: Rising Appalachia Releases Spellbinding Video for “I Need a Forest Fire” Alongside New Album ‘Folk and Anchor’

Earlier this year, the internationally touring folk group Rising Appalachia announced they would take a creative sabbatical in 2024. They limited their touring schedule and stepped away from social media to give themselves time to recharge and create. However, they weren’t going to leave their fans in silence for an entire year. Today, they released Folk and Anchor, a collection of covers of sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith’s favorite songs. American Songwriter is proud to premiere “I Need a Forest Fire” in conjunction with the release. Watch the captivating video below.

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Written by James Blake and Justin Vernon, Blake recorded “I Need a Forest Fire” with Bon Iver and released it as a single from his 2016 album The Colour in Anything. Rising Appalachia gave the track a folksy reimagining.

The first thing that stands out about this rendition of “I Need a Forest Fire” is the harmony-heavy vocals. Song and Smith are a perfect example of “blood harmony.” It’s the kind of singing that can only come from a pair of singers who know one another’s voices as well as their own. It’s as if one intuitively knows where the other is going and moves immediately to harmonize. They make it sound equally effortless and spellbinding.

Rising Appalachia on “I Need a Forest Fire”

Rising Appalachia frontwomen Chloe Smith and Leah Song spoke about “I Need a Forest Fire.” They called the song their “interpretation of a rich and righteous James Blake track.”

“We have been big fans of his artistry and aural weavings for many years and wanted to do a folk rendition of this striking song,” they added. “The texture of its sounds stretch far and wide in atmospheric rhythms as well as the lyrics and it took some deep digging to conceptualize what Blake was perhaps trying to say.”

They then discussed their interpretation of Blake’s lyrics. “We live in a time of rapidly destructive—and so often man-made—wildfires in many parts of the planet. Singing a song that says ‘we need a forest fire’ felt cautionary but enticing, as we explored the many metaphors that ‘forest fire’ could represent,” they began. “We came to believe it is about the burning of the ego, the takedown of destructive habits and destructive relationships, even destructive sides of self,” they added. “In a time where everyone is on one side of the coin or the other, in a highly polarized nation, a burning symbolizes a great reset. A death and rebirth cycle.”

“We hope you enjoy our take on this track as much as we have enjoyed stretching into its different sounds,” they concluded.

A Creative Sabbatical

Smith and Song took to social media earlier this year to announce that they would be taking 2024 off. “We are taking 2024 as an official sabbatical year! This has been a long time coming,” they wrote in the post. “It will be a quieter year for us. We WILL play any of the shows already on the books. However, we will be taking most of our time off the road to work on a new album and rest,” they explained. “We have found that a piece to the longevity of an artist is in balancing public work and private work. It’s time to dig deep into how we want to share and what we want to share.”

Folk and Anchor is available to stream everywhere today.

Featured Image by Earth Based Media

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