Underhill Rose the ‘Real’ deal

Marci Gore • Jun 23, 2013 at 11:08 PM

Molly Rose says she was born singing.

“Singing was always the thing that made me happy,” Rose said.

Rose, on guitar and lead vocals, is one third of the trio Underhill Rose, which also features Eleanor Underhill on banjo, harmonies and lead vocals, and Salley Williamson on upright bass and backing vocals.

Underhill Rose blends aspects of Americana, rhythm and blues, country and bluegrass into an authentic sound that is all their own. Their original songs are wrapped in three-part harmonies and packaged with an eye-catching stage presence.

The trio will take the stage June 28 in Jonesborough during the town’s weekly Music on the Square event.

Held each Friday evening May through September, Music on the Square is Americana at its best, featuring live performances by local and regional bands, storytellers, poets and performance artists. Each concert begins around 7 p.m.

Many of the shops in Jonesborough stay open for the event, and the restaurants are full of diners and dessert seekers. Folks can visit, chat, enjoy the music and meet new friends as the bands play a variety of bluegrass, Celtic, old-time, blues or jazz.

Born in Douglasville, Ga., Rose is the child of a musical family. Her father is a classically trained musician; her mother sings the blues; and her grandfather was a minister — the perfect combination for raising a performer.

“My family is a big influence on me. Most all of them sing or play an instrument. At family gatherings, we play music,” she said.

And early on, Rose’s grandfather’s small church exposed her to a large amount of singing and performing in front of people.

As a young child, Rose says she always had a little tune to sing, whether it was practicing imitating her favorite singers or simply coming up with her own.

Aside from her family, Rose says her biggest musical influences are Bonnie Raitt and, especially, Linda Ronstadt.

“As a child, I heard her voice and thought it was just one of the most beautiful voices I had ever heard,” she said. “I tried to imitate what she did.”

That led to the early development of Rose’s subtle, yet powerful sound and ability to hear and sing harmonies off-the-cuff.

Just last month, Underhill Rose released its second album, “Something Real” — a crowd-funded album.

“We launched a Kickstarter campaign for this album. When launching a campaign such as this, you take a leap of faith that your fan base, and also the greater world, wants to support your project and make it happen,” Rose said. “We took that leap of faith and we actually got fully supported at 120 percent of our goal. It really made me realize that we have a whole lot of support and a lot of people who believe in our success.

“It’s doing well. We launched it to radio stations. It’s number 19 on the Alternate Root, and on the Americana Music Association charts, we’re at 62.”

Rose said “Something Real” is made possible thanks to the musical genius of producer Cruz Contreras of The Black Lillies and the multi-Grammy Award-generating Echo Mountain Recording Studios.

“We plan to take our [music careers] as far as we can,” Rose said. “We essentially want to have a life of music. We all have other jobs at this point. We are invested in our communities, but, the reality is, we want this to be our full-time job and for it to support us so we can continue to pay our bills.”

Later this summer, Underhill Rose will head out west to perform for audiences in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado and eventually Europe, where the band is generating lots of popularity.

“It turns out that people are listening to our music all over the world right now,” Rose said. “Several different radio stations are playing us in the UK.”

Rose encourages all their local fans to come see them while they are in Jonesborough this weekend.

“We may not be back to the area for a while since we are going to be traveling a lot. [Music on the Square] is a really good opportunity to see us before we take a big leap of faith and hit up a bunch of new markets,” she said.

For more information on Underhill Rose, visit the band’s website at www.underhillrose.com.

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