Harmonies. Soul-touching lyrics. Eye-catching stage presence. Underhill Rose has become synonymous with beautiful music, charming personalities, and rippling success. In the last four years, the boot-wearing trio from Asheville, North Carolina has independently released two albums which have reached the upper reaches of the Americana Music Association Airplay Chart and Roots Music Report Chart, all the while garnering critical acclaim from around the globe. It’s full steam ahead for these female troubadours as they release their first live recording in spring 2017 with a corresponding tour in the United States, Ireland and the UK.
Over two starry September nights in 2016, the authentic, live sound of Underhill Rose was captured in their home state. “I’ve always wanted to create a stripped-down album of our trio that captures the magic of our live performances” says band co-founder and guitarist Molly Rose. The trio played two shows each night – including their original compositions and a few crowd-favourite cover songs – to riveted audiences. “It was wonderful to be surrounded by some of our biggest fans”, says bassist Salley Williamson. Band co-founder and Deering-endorsing banjoist Eleanor Underhill adds “the beauty of the album is that it highlights our voices and showcases our lyricism in a way that you have never heard in any of our prior recordings.”
Featuring original songs from their three studio albums, Underhill Rose’s Live covers the depth and joy of nearly a decade of musical partnership. By removing the bells and whistles of past recordings, Underhill Rose reveals the fundamental elements of their sound: a powerful trio in full bloom. The first track, ‘Who Brought the Sun’, highlights Rose’s lyrical poeticism and soaring vocal performance, the song resolving in a dreamy a cappella chorus. Next, a visit to the ‘Whispering Pines Motel’, for Underhill’s noirish tale of romantic longing. Track three, “They Got My Back,” is bass player Williamson’s tribute to the supportive community in which she was raised. Similar to the group’s prior albums, the live album features all three songwriters of Underhill Rose.
In a divergent move from past albums, the live collection also includes several crowd-favourite covers, with each band member taking a turn at the helm. After a charming interchange between Rose and her grandmother sitting in the front row, Rose’s gentle lilt spins the 80’s pop tune ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ into a piece more akin to contemplative folk. Williamson debuts her lead vocal with confidence and sass on ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’’, and Underhill sheds a new light on John Prine’s ‘Long Monday’ with thoughtful yet melancholic vocals and harmonica. Well loved by crowds, ‘Trouble in Mind’ begins with the band’s signature three-part harmony before launching into high gear.
Underhill Rose Live acts partly as a “best of” collection, showcasing the breadth of the trio’s catalogue in a stripped-down style that sounds and feels live. ‘Love Looks Good on You’ ponders true happiness and is glittered with Underhill’s harmonica, while ‘Little House’ showcases carefully crafted vocal harmonies.
The fifteen song album – printed on ethically sourced materials and featuring original artwork by Molly Rose – is a true homage to the ascendant trio’s roots.
Artists’ website: http://www.underhillrose.com/
‘Whispering Pines Motel’ live: