ASHEVILLE — The voices in Underhill Rose may sound familiar. The harmony-driven folk duo, featuring Eleanor Underhill and Molly Rose Reed, was one half of the popular Asheville-based band, the Barrel House Mamas.
After the group disbanded, Underhill and Reed decided they wanted to keep singing together, so in 2009 they formed Underhill Rose, which features a like-minded brand of dusty country soul with gorgeous vocal arrangements that range from sweet and delicate to high and soaring.
“After a lot of time and healing from the Barrel House Mamas breaking up, we decided that we wanted to play music together again,” Underhill says. “At the beginning it was more raw, because we only had two-part harmonies. While, at first, it felt like a void, we pushed ourselves to put it all out there and be very honest. Now that Molly and I have been playing together for about 10 years, we’ve learned the nuances of each other’s musical abilities. We’ve taken on our own essence.”
The group is now gaining momentum with an increasing number of regional gigs. Underhill and Reed recently added bass player Salley Williamson to provide another layer of harmony.
Earlier this year the band released a self-titled album that was recorded with help from some of Asheville’s best players, including guitarist Aaron “Woody” Wood and members of Stephaniesid.
Filled with acoustic strings and pastoral melodies, the effort displays the group’s broad Americana flavors, as well as an attention to song craft that Underhill says takes influence from Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.
“I’ve been influenced by people that use imagery along with a paradoxical view of life,” she says. “There’s a sense when you know a lyric or song is working. It feels like you’re collaborating on some sort of collective conscious level with some of the great songwriters. It feels like you’re channeling something.”
The band plans to hit the road extensively next year, but they’re playing a local show this weekend at the Great Hall at the Grove Park Inn on Saturday afternoon. In addition to this show, they’ll be back at the resort again , Nov. 12 and Dec. 3.
“We’ll be playing there for the rest of the year,” Underhill adds. “Hopefully I can convince the band to whip up some holiday tunes.”
Jedd Ferris writes about entertainment for take5. Email him at email@example.com.