Eleanor Underhill is a singer/songwriter and producer based in Asheville, North Carolina. She is the current and founding member of two bands — Underhill Rose and Eleanor Underhill & Friends. Underhill’s prolific songwriting and passion for music has contributed to a total of eight albums, notable accolades from the Americana, folk, and indie-rock worlds, as well as a touring history that has taken her coast to coast in the USA and to the UK and Ireland three times. Underhill’s career as a producer and solo artist took off in 2014 when she formed Eleanor Underhill & Friends and subsequently built out her own studio to begin recording and producing music from home.
Eleanor’s first self-produced album, Navigate the Madness (2018), was named a “Top 100 Album” of the year by tastemaker station 88.7 WNCW, a “Top 10 Local Release” by The Mountain Xpress, and landed on a multitude of Spotify playlists. Eleanor’s sophomore album, Land of the Living (2020), swings big and grabs the attention of American Songwriter who premieres the first solo track, “Strange Chemistry.” In 2021, UNC-TV aired a live concert of Eleanor Underhill & Friends from the series Echo Sessions, and Underhill was featured on the front cover of the corresponding CenterPiece magazine. After hearing Underhill’s take on several choice cover songs over the years, fan encouraged her to record, Got it Covered, an all-covers album in 2022. The Roots Music Report gave the album 5 Stars and called it “…a pleasurable journey through the past thanks to the pop predilections of song stylist Eleanor Underhill.”
Underhill grew up surrounded by music. Her mother worked as a balladeer in the taverns of Colonial Williamsburg (where she was born) and her father would dig out a harmonica or squeezebox around the holidays to share a ditty. Underhill was taught piano by her mother around age five and enjoyed tinkering around the keys in her spare time. At age 10, she picked up the trombone and thrived in the marching, concert, and jazz bands, even taking home a “Best Solo Award” at a regional competition. Beyond the written page, Underhill was no stranger to pop music of the ’80s and ‘90s and frequently made up dance routines and mock music videos. Inevitably, the hormones kicked in and Underhill transitioned her hands to the guitar (again, taught by her mother) and started writing lyrics. She performed at her first open-mic night at a coffee shop in Williamsburg at age 14, performing Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind.”
Underhill grew a strong affinity for American roots music and subsequently found a banjo in the basement of her parents house while on summer break from college. She learned the basics of bluegrass banjo picking but was especially drawn to old-time music and claw-hammer style. Over the years, Underhill fused many traditions to create a banjo picking style all her own.
While attending college, Eleanor Underhill and Molly Rose Reed founded the heartfelt country-soul group, Underhill Rose. Their sophomore LP Something Real (2013) landed in the top 25 on six different domestic and international airplay charts, peaked at #18 on the Americana Music Association airplay chart, and remained in the Top 40 for 10 straight weeks. The band performed at Bristol Rhythm and Roots, Merlefest, Celtic Connections, and Floydfest, while touring nationally and internationally from 2015 to present.
Underhill is keeping her hands busy with solo music always in the works. A forthcoming single “Crazy Beast” debuted at Video Music Asheville in 2022 and will be released on streaming platforms in early 2023. There are plans for a fourth Underhill Rose album as well as a solo Holiday-themed album with Underhill’s musical mother, Jane Underhill.