What happens when you get to that 'difficult 4th album' point in your musical career? Well if you're Underhill Rose, then wisely you buy yourself some time by releasing the ubiquitous and often obligatory live album. And of course there have been some epic live albums over the years - I'm sure we can all reel off a few each of varying genres that have hit just the right spot to satisfy even the most demanding and cynical music critic. This isn't one of those epic live albums (the place that Underhill Rose inhabit probably doesn't allow that), but what it is (and probably what it was intended to be), is a snapshot in time of 3 extremely talented songwriters and musicians giving their audience what is in effect a live 'greatest hits' package.
If you're new to the sparkling, sunshine world of Underhill Rose then I guess this is as good a place to start as any - Molly Rose Reed, Eleanor Underhill and Salley Williamson are the kind of musicians that have that uncanny and unmeasurable propensity to touch the soul, and bring a warm knowing smile to their audience's faces. This is acoustic music where guitar, banjo and doghouse bass are bent into a loving shape to produce a brand of music that can uplift spirits with ease. Whispers of bluegrass, blues, country and pop entwine to form a sound that when accompanied by the girls sugar-sweet harmonies is uniquely their own.
The album is a veritable smorgasbord of top notch self-penned tune-age, from the pickin' whimsy and chunky chorus of "Who Bought The Sun" to the lush three part harmonies on the autobiographical "Little House", and on a generous 15 song album they've also found time to include a couple of crowd pleasing favourites - "Bette Davis Eyes" and the stomping good time swing of "These Boots Were Made For Walkin" where bass handler Salley Williamson gets a rare lead vocal outing.
"Live" will act as a great souvenir for those seeing Underhill Rose for the first time, and a welcome addition to their already impressive back catalogue to those more familiar with their undeniable pop-tinged country charms. This album isn't breaking down any doors, but it certainly whets the appetite for studio album number four, and if these songs are anything to go by, then it's going to be a capricious cracker!
|Flora Cash: Nothing Lasts Forever and It's Fine||Quintessence: Move Into The Light: The Complete Island Recordings 1969-1971|
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