Salley Williamson – upright bass, backing vocals The third and newest member of Underhill Rose, bass player and harmony singer, Salley Williamson, hails from the Lowcountry of South Carolina, near the banks of the Edisto River. Her father was a farmer as well as an Alligator Control Agent for her home state, which meant her childhood involved riding tractors and catching alligators with dad. Her grandmother was an opera singer, and her mother sang every Sunday with the church choir and played the guitar. Subsequently, music was always a part of her life growing up, with the sounds of Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, and a plethora of country music filling the air.
It was during spontaneous hunting trips with her father to Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa that Salley realized her love of meeting new people and traveling. These trips eventually led her to Montana, where she took up residence for 10 years and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Arts Education and an additional Master of Education in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction. It was through her travels that she completed her thesis, following a trip to Mali, West Africa, on the art of West African dance. Salley’s love of education inspired her to lead art programs throughout Montana for elementary school students. She also worked with the Migrant Education Program as a teacher and a traveling tutor. Her passion, and desire to be closer to her family, brought her to Asheville where she is honored to be working with Open Hearts Art Center, an organization dedicated to “serving adults with a variety of challenges through recognizing and sharing their creative spirit.”
Despite taking piano lessons at a young age and singing with both her church and school choirs, Salley didn’t learn the bass until graduate school. Recognizing her fondness for the bass line of the music she loves, it was then that she decided to take upright bass lessons. Salley’s bass training, which continues to this day, led her to join the band Hay Sugar. Along with her mentor and musical influencer “Tall” Paul Leach and his family, she learned the joys of playing in a band and shared the stage with the likes of Doc Watson, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Kruger Brothers. Following the dissolution of the band, Salley took the opportunity to join Eleanor Underhill and Molly Rose, making Underhill Rose an all-female trio.
In her spare time, Salley remains an avid traveler, having visiting the majority of the United States and over 16 countries, including a modeling stint in Milan, Italy. She lives on a small farm outside of Asheville where she gardens and raises animals.