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The first time you hear the close harmonies and and guitar/clawhammer banjo interplay of Asheville roots duo Underhill Rose, you might assume that they’re sisters. But they're not.

Their musical rapport and charismatic stage presence suggest the closeness of family bonds, but in fact their association began after a chance meeting at Warren Wilson College, where Eleanor Underhill and Molly Rose Reed discovered a common musical sensibility during an impromptu performance of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.” 

Underhill Rose, who No Depression magazine tag as some of the “most promising rootsy women artists in the Americana scene,” will perform at White Horse Black Mountain at 8 p.m. Friday, May 11. Songwriter Woody Wood will be their special guest. Tickets are $10 advance/$12 door.

At Warren Wilson College, Underhill and Reed were members of the powerful all-female band Barrel House Mamas, a group that showcased the songwriting talents of the future Underhill Rose collaboration. After the Mamas disbanded, the two women decided in 2009 to continue as a duo and carve out their own niche in the world of Americana music. They’ve gone on to perform in clubs and on festival stages, as well as PBS television and nationally syndicated radio shows.

For their most recent album, Underhill Rose combined the energy of songs from their three studio albums with the immediacy of their live performances, stripping the sound down to essential elements - two beautifully intertwined voices, accompanied by guitar and banjo. The result is a soulful blend of Americana, R&B, country and bluegrass.

Aaron “Woody” Wood’s website calls his style “Cosmic Appalachian Soul Music.” Wood is the product of a musical family; his father and brothers played Piedmont blues. His dad was also a leading light in the development of progressive bluegrass (one of Wood’s earliest memories is sitting onstage with a tiny banjo next to his father - and Bill Monroe).

Wood synthesized his influences into his personal style. Moving to the mountains at a young age to busk on the streets of Asheville, he eventually toured with The Blue Rags, a successful ban. Woods has since worked with many bands and as a soloist artist and has opened for a number of major artists. He continues to record with the support of high-profile side men and hone his already exceptional guitar chops.

 

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