Eleanor Underhill & Friends
Photo by John Gellman
Eleanor Underhill & Friends creates sonic landscapes like you've never heard before. Underhill is a banjo-wielding frontwoman armed with soulful vocals, launching from well-crafted original songs to fun, upbeat cover tunes. By her side are some of Asheville’s finest musicians drawing from backgrounds of jazz, rock, and soul. The result is captivating, sometimes dizzying, and always inspired.
In 2014, with a desire to create a band rooted in the Asheville music scene, Eleanor Underhill (of the internationally-acclaimed Americana group, Underhill Rose) pulled together several top-notch performers to create a powerhouse side-project: Eleanor Underhill & Friends. Each member brings their own musical instincts and influences, resulting in music that is fresh and far-reaching.
Featuring all of the members of "& Friends," Underhill's debut solo effort, Navigate the Madness, was released in 2018 to wide acclaim: Named one of the Top 10 Releases of 2018 by Bill Kopp (Musocribe) and voted in the Top 100 International Releases by WNCW radio listeners. Asheville Citizen-Times called it “…a stunning work of a gifted, visionary singer-songwriter. With her open-back banjo, soulful and luminous vocals as the common thread, there isn't a cliched lyric anywhere among the collection of playful, sublime and deeply affecting songs.” (Jim Simpson)
The group’s follow-up release in 2020, Land of the Living, digs even deeper into Underhill's psyche and reaches even farther into new musical landscapes. The result? American Songwriter premiered the track “Strange Chemistry” and said the album was “…Tales told in motion, with dynamic harmonies.” PopMatters weighed in, saying that it was, “…An emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.”
In 2021, a live performance by Eleanor Underhill & Friends was featured on PBS-syndicated Echo Sessions along with a cover story in CenterPiece Magazine. 2022 was another hallmark year with the release of the group's third album Got it Covered, packed with sixteen tracks of fan-favorite cover songs.