From Wyoming to Philadelphia, vocalist Samantha Rise brings tastefully weaves together jazz, folk and roots music, crafting a unique fabric in her original music, described in her own words as "High-Country Soul." In 2010 as part of a songwriter’s showcase, Rise first collaborated with band mates Matt Davis and Ken Pendergast. One rehearsal cemented their shared understanding: that more music was in order, and the best was yet to come. With the later addition of drummer Ryan Ptasnik and keyboardist John Stenger, the ensemble felt complete. For years, the band has committed to working together across miles, time zones, and musical evolutions to pursue the tender space they create together.
Forever singing, performing and lost in music of all kinds, Rise first began writing music as a Jazz Studies major at Temple University; immersed in the lush harmonies and complex identities of jazz musicand culture, she discerned her own poetry with the guiding influence of Nina Simone, Billie Holliday and others. As she lived and engaged with the challenges of emergent needs in American cities, soul and the music of social movements inspired her writing. Simple, unrepentant and collective, songs from Odetta and Sister Rosetta deepened her capacity for the work toward social change, and unapologetic joy in the midst of grief. Moving westward to Wyoming brought another major influence with classic and modern country music. Each influence is braided delicately and deliberately into Rise’s songs, moving deftly from country ballads to gospel choruses and languid grooves of a rueful city. The magic of her musicality is it’s effortless dance; at no point does her audience question or ruffle at the shift- rather, we savor the inbetween, heretofore uncomfortable space without label or genre.
Rise's songwriting is both sensual and staggering in her unblinking accounts of what it is to be a woman of color in America, 2018. From unrequited love to police brutality, the #MeToo movement and mass incarceration, Rise reconciles the conversations we cannot seem to engage, with songs we cannot help but love. She invites us to wade through the grief and joy we know toward a future we create together, standing courageously and vulnerably, where the West begins.
Rise's debut album, Brighter Days, is scheduled for release in the Spring of 2018. Rye Grass Rides and Let the Great World Spin are available on Spotify, iTunes and wherever else music is available.