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nehemiah sliwoski

Beware the Ides of March, but also celebrate, because there are only 139 days until Pickathon! This edition of our ongoing Starlight Series—which spotlights performances at the nocturnal Starlight Stage from 2018's festival—features Rising Appalachia, a soulful, genre-bending folk group led by sisters Leah and Chloe Smith, with a rotating cast of musicians filling in on stand-up bass, guitar, fiddle, cello, n’goni, and talking drum.

Today's video finds the band performing "St. James Infirmary," a jazz standard of unknown origin popularized by Louis Armstrong and later tackled by countless musicians (my favorite is Cab Calloway's version for the 1933 Betty Boop film Snow White—worth checking out for his spine-tingling vocals and the surreal animation). Rising Appalachia gives "St. James Infirmary" a funky spin, complete with a mid-song tambourine jam and dance break.

Love Mercury Music Coverage?

Earlier this week, Pickathon added Phil Lesh, the Richard Swift Hex Band, and Makaya McCraven to its already jam-packed lineup, which includes Yob, Black Belt Eagle Scout, and Damien Jurado, among many other fantastic artists from Portland and beyond who will descend on Pendarvis Farm this summer. Tickets are on sale now, and you can get 'em here.

Check out previous episodes of our ongoing Pickathon Starlight Series:

• Episode 1: Shinyribs
• Episode 2: Hailu Mergia
• Episode 3: Wild Child
• Episode 4: Bedouine