Most of my friends know that I'm borderline OCD for Underhill Rose, a trio of wonderfully talented women from Asheville who are gradually making a name in and around the Americana music genre.
Eleanor Underhill is an accomplished banjo player and songwriter; her college classmate, Molly Rose Reed, is a talented guitarist (and songwriter) with a voice as pure as a love poem; and upright bassist Salley Williamson brings a decidedly subtle depth and balance to the group.
Together, they combine for some uniquely "heartfelt country soul" (their own words) that is often highlighted by incredible three-part harmonies and musicianship. Music videos on YouTube don't do them the justice of seeing them in a live performance.
I tell potential fans that Underhill Rose brings melodies from the mountains and harmonies from heaven.
Why do I bring all of this up?
The group is in the midst of a fan-based Kickstarter campaign to produce, record and distribute their third album. Their last CD, "Something Real" (which was also funded by Kickstarter), was named to the top 100 of the Americana Music Association's year-end chart for 2013, so they've definitely got the chops for this kind of thing. They are clearly Something Real.
Their last campaign requested $15,000 and fans delivered with more than $18,000. This time around, the stakes are more ambitious — $25,000, which must be raised by April 27th or else nothing happens.
Watch this Kickstarter appeal from the girls themselves, and check out the various levels of contribution — here.
What you see in that video is Underhill Rose at its heart. If you sense their sincerity, believe it. If you feel their confidence, trust it. If you feel their art, embrace it. If you feel their joy, go with it. They are all three the real deal.
I have a number of friends who tell me how much they enjoy Underhill Rose's music, but now is the time to ante up. As I write this blog, the band has raised $3,150 with 32 days left in the campaign. That means they have to average about $680 a day in pledges the rest of the way to meet their goal.
Underhill Rose does not have the luxury of a record label to subsidize a new album. They drive from gig to weekend gig, using their own money for gas, food and lodging while bringing their music to our ears — and to our hearts. It's an incredible dedication to their craft for not much more than a pat on the back. The budget does not include recording new CDs.
Now, as fans, we have an opportunity to help them bring us more of the music we enjoy, to bring us the art that we feel enhances our own quality of life, even if just for a little bit. Kickstarter allows us, literally, to become part of their music.
Now is the time.