Eleanor Underhill of Underhill Rose: “Connected with Everything”

Artist name: Eleanor Underhill of Underhill Rose

Featured Work 1: “Love Looks Good on You” and photo of Eleanor Underhill



The union of Eleanor Underhill on open-back banjo, Molly Rose on guitar, and Salley Williamson on upright bass results in the gifted and acclaimed “all-female trifecta” that is Underhill Rose. Enjoy their distinctive, harmonious, and soulful songs, which feel both ethereal and rooted in the earth. Also enjoy Eleanor Underhill’s poignant reflections on art and creativity below. I’ve had the privileged to know her, and she’s a talented and beautiful person and truly one of a kind.

Featured Work 2: “Whispering Pines Hotel”

5 Questions for the Artist:

1. What is art to you?

I think art is any form of expression that goes beyond basic day-to-day communication. It usually touches on the emotional or intellectual aspects of the human experience. Art is the product of trying to take the unseen, the unheard, and the unconscious and bring it into the physical world. Or, it can be about a different perspective or interpretation of everyday life. Can elephants make art? I suppose if someone wants to hang it in their house and it brings them satisfaction, then it is art. I guess art is anything that people find of aesthetic value.

2. What did you make in the past, and why?

I have made many things in the past: illustrations, cartoons, poems, music videos, dolls, journals, watercolor paintings, artist books, but most recently: music records with my band. I have always had the urge to create. It has always brought me great joy, energy, and purpose. To borrow from Charlie Kaufman, art is a “…journey into the unknown.” (Though he was specifically talking about writing.) Making art is an adventure; it makes life less mundane. It gives life meaning.

3. What are you making now, and why?

Mostly, I am a songwriter and a performing musician. That is my main artistic expression at this time in my life. Though I have always had a love for visual arts, I found music to be slightly more compelling because of the live and communal aspect. In a band, you make music together and you perform it for a live audience. It’s performance art. I like the immediate, in-the-moment feeling of playing music with and for people. When I create music, I feel the most connected with everything. It is almost a spiritual experience. Visual art is less of a social experience, generally. When I can find the time though, I work on paintings, illustrations, and poetry.

4. What are your hopes for the future?

What are your hopes for the future? Musically-speaking, I am quite ambitious. Most immediately, my band Underhill Rose is planning to record a live album in the fall. In addition to that, I’d like to be able to write and record an instrumental album, a children’s album, several solo albums, a holiday album, and expand into atmospheric/sound-track music as well. The challenge of creating an instrumental album, for example, would improve and expand my abilities as a musician. I also am excited by the prospect of stepping into more of a producer/engineer role. Musically, I am hoping for new experiences and personal challenges. In terms of visual arts, I’d like to create oil-paintings of seascapes and landscapes: those are my favorite to admire.

5. What else would you like to say?

Shoutout to all of the artists that are finding ways to create meaningful art and lift up their communities. That is something I hope to do more of in the future as well. Also, thank you beautiful Julia for inviting me to talk about art!

You can follow Underhill Rose on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Spotify.

Artist Background From Their Site:

“Harmonies. Soul-touching lyrics. Eye-catching stage presence. Underhill Rose has become synonymous with beautiful music, charming personalities, and rippling success. In the last three years, the all-female trifecta has independently released two albums in the top of the Americana Music Association Airplay Chart and the Roots Music Report Chart, all the while garnering critical acclaim from around the globe.

Get to know the joyful soaring voice of Molly Rose and her guitar, the distinctive styling of Eleanor Underhill’s open-back banjo and salty-blues vocals in tandem with Salley Williamson on upright bass and harmonies. With their song-centered original compositions, the troubadours create three-part harmony music that is real and inspired. See the trio on PBS Television, hear them on nationally syndicated radio and at live performances across the US and Europe, and you will know how Underhill Rose has carved out a distinctive place in the Americana-folk scene.

2016 has already become a high-spirited year, with performances at Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour, Folk Alliance International, and sold-out shows at clubs and performance centers across the eastern seaboard. It’s full-steam ahead for these women as Underhill Rose hops the pond for a tour to England and Ireland in the spring, where they have already received a plethora of outstanding album reviews…

…Molly Rose and Eleanor Underhill’s musical partnership is the result of a chance meeting at a makeshift performance of “Angel from Montgomery” between classes at Warren Wilson College. Their affinity for the music they make has kept them together for more than 10 years. Underhill Rose formed in 2009, and the addition of Salley Williamson two years later created the foundation for the internationally-recognized female trio known for blending aspects of Americana, R&B, country, and bluegrass into an authentic sound that is all their own—“Heartfelt Country Soul.” Armed with a fresh sound and an extraordinary ability to blend a multitude of musical genres, Underhill Rose is an acoustic trio that will touch your soul.”


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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers


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