Dirty Dozen: Underhill Rose (Molly Rose Reed)

Underhill Rose, 2016

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 all-female trifecta has independently released two albums in the top of the Americana Music Association Airplay Chart and the Roots Music Report Chart, all the while garnering critical acclaim from around the globe. 

Tell us about yourselves and what you do?

We are Underhill Rose, an all-female boot-wearing trifecta from the mountains of North Carolina in the United States. We play heartfelt original music. Words that come to mind to describe us are harmonies, soul-touching lyrics, country instrumentation, and Americana roots.

How did you get together/start out?
Eleanor Underhill and my (Molly Rose Reed) musical partnership is the result of a makeshift performance of John Prine’s song, “Angel from Montgomery”, between classes at Warren Wilson College. I was sitting on the grassy hillside outside of my dorm, learning to play guitar chords to the song, and Eleanor walked up and sang harmony with me. We have been playing music together ever since, and formed Underhill Rose some years later in 2009. I met bassist Salley Williamson at a dance class in 2010, and she joined us in 2011 to solidify our foundation that you will hear today.

What is your current release/future release?
The Great Tomorrow, released earlier this year in the UK. We have just recorded a live album that will come out in early 2017, too.

What is the best part of being in a band?
The money. Just kidding! The best part is the freedom to create and to travel around the world sharing our art. I feel that music is an avenue that encourages people to feel, and it is amazing to know when people are touched by our music.

What is your most significant moment yet?
There are a few things that come to mind, but the most significant moment to me was when our album Something Real was in the top 40 on the Americana USA chart for 10 weeks, topping off at #18. It was surreal because we were one of three independent releases on the chart, and I realized that we earned it on our own (without label support). We reached the top 40 once again with The Great Tomorrow.

Second to that is a tie between meeting Bonnie Raitt and playing the main stage at MerleFest, and learning afterwards (thank goodness) that our faces were on the jumbotron screens.

What are your biggest musical influences?
My musical family. My mother is a singer and a great performer. My father realized my love for singing and regularly exposed me to groups that sang harmony, including Trio, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Chicago, and the Indigo Girls (who are from the neighborhood in Atlanta where I grew up). He challenged me to sing harmony parts to what was on the radio, and showed me complicated chord progressions to my favorite songs. To this day, my family regularly plays music at family gatherings.

As for Eleanor and Salley, their musical influences are similar, but span to include Eleanor’s influence of Barbara Streisand and 90’s pop and Salley’s family listening to old country and American folk.

What venue/gig do you most want to play?
Carnegie Hall in New York.

What is your best/favourite song you have written?
All three of us are songwriters, so I will mention a favorite of mine that each of us have written. One of my favorites by Eleanor is “Love Looks Good on You”, which describes three different scenarios about finding beauty from the inside out. Salley has written a crowd favorite called “They Got My Back” as a testament to her hometown. Lately, I have been playing an old song I wrote called “Bridge” that acknowledges a crumbling friendship while sending love to that person.

What is your favourite album of this year?
So far, Lori McKenna’s “The Bird and the Rifle” takes the top of my list.

Side note: I am a sucker for almost everything Dave Cobb has produced.

What does the next six months have in store for you?
We are busy! In November we are TOURING THE UK for the second time. In early 2017, we are releasing our Live Album.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Continuing to create art and sharing it with the world.

 

Author: Rudie Humphrey

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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