This trio hails from North Carolina and they have funded this album via fan donations, which is becoming an increasingly familiar route for independent artists to get albums made and manufactured. The fans who contributed will be well pleased with how Underhill Rose have used the money. The harmony filled music includes bluegrass, country and folk-pop with touches of blues and soul broadening the band’s palette. The overriding feel is acoustic based, voice-led music which expands and adapts as the songs require.
The songs are all self-written, mainly by Eleanor Underhill and Salley Williamson, with a couple of contributions by third trio member Rose Reed. All are well up to standard. Lead vocal is generally taken by the song's writer while the others supply close harmony, handling the task with individuality. They also play include a series of guests who help deliver a captivating sound. Black Lillies frontman Cruz Contreras is the album’s producer who has given the album a warm, bright, fluid sound.
The songs run from the country style heartache of Unused to You with pedal steel giving it a sense of loss to the solidarity of hometown and friends which is the theme of They Got My Back. The sentiment of I Wanna Love You is self-evident though many of the other songs tend to look at the harder side of relationships. Never Gonna Work Out and Drives Me to Drinking are two paeans to personal pain. Underhill's banjo playing is often the key instrument which gives an old-time, bluegrass feel to a sound that is also influenced by the drums, electric guitar, accordion, keyboards and trumpet. This instrumentation give the songs a wider texture and context as required.
Underhill Rose are the kind of band that have an immediate appeal. The vocals and harmonies are strong, the songs distinct and the overall sound that would informs you of the band’s intentions. The trio have produced something real, intrigiing and tangible, something that has a transcendant quality. On Never Gonna Work Out, which features the trio playing all the instruments and adding their fine voices, they show how well this band would work in a live setting too.
They obviously enjoyed the experience and the chances are that you will too.