Rootsy all-girl trio Underhill Rose comes to The Glass
WANT TO GO?
WHERE: The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St.
WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday
INFO: 304-345-3914 or www.emptyglass.com
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On Saturday, Asheville, N.C.'s Underhill Rose returns to The Empty Glass for the second time this year after a summer spent trying to explore past their touring boundaries while juggling their day jobs. The members of the rootsy, all-female Americana trio -- formed from half of The Barrel House Mamas -- feel like they're making some headway.
The gazz spoke to Eleanor Underhill, banjo player and co-founder of the trio, about how the band got started and meeting one of their musical crushes, indie rockers Dawes.
Q: How did you and Molly Rose meet?
A: "Molly and I met in college at Warren Wilson College, which is very much a microcosm of what Asheville is about. It's a small liberal arts school, strong in environmental science.
"In college, I had just discovered the banjo and was playing at the 'old-time jam' -- an actual class. I got credit for it -- and we would sing harmony together. Essentially, Bonnie Raitt was our connection, the singer we both grew up with, and 'Angel from Montgomery,' John Prine's song, was the first song we did together."
Q: What about the Barrel House Mamas?
A: "That's a band we were in for a while. We were on that show 'The Next Great American Band.' It was a spin-off of 'American Idol.' They flew us out to L.A., but the show completely flopped and the band split in 2009.
"After that, Molly and I struck out on our own, but we had a really hard time coming up with a name. We took Underhill Rose because it seemed simple, though Rose has been overdone. There are lots of bands with the word 'rose' in their name. We just couldn't come up with anything else, but it fits."
Q: Is this your first trip up to Charleston?
A: "We have played Charleston before. I can't remember where, but we've been here as part of our tour around the Southeast. We're still holding on to our day jobs, but we travel as far as we can each weekend, going down to Florida or up to Kentucky and West Virginia.
"Sally, our bass player works for an arts center for adults with disabilities. She leads lessons there and really loves it. Molly works for a nutrition and supplement company and does research and customer support. And me? I'm back in school, getting my teaching license. I do some tutoring, and Molly and I play solo one night a week around town in Asheville.
"I'm kind of a dabbler."
Q: Do you handle most of the lyrics?
A: "I write more prolifically, but we both do. As Molly puts it, writing just isn't her passion. She likes to play more, and I love to write and put words to things. Molly also has the stronger voice."
Q: Any new releases?
A: "We do have a new record out that came out last year. We also have a Pandora [radio] channel, and we're working on a collection of videos of us doing some of our favorite cover songs. We're calling it 'Undercover with Underhill Rose.' It has us playing in a barn, under an awning, on a porch -- places that are covered.
"We're doing a Jamey Johnson song, some covers from '90s pop and Dawes. They're great. We got to meet them on their bus and played one of their songs for them. That was really cool."
Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.