Don’t let the name fool you. The Underhill Family Orchestra isn’t an orchestra and its members aren’t technically related, but the undeniable bond between them might convince you otherwise.
The six-member Appalachia-inspired band from Mobile, Alabama will bring their foot-stomping, Americana progressive pop sound to the Schaeffer Eye Center Stage at Art On The Rocks on July 21. Learn more about them and their upcoming performance in our exclusive Q&A with band member Ben Cook below.
Birmingham Museum of Art: Everybody wants to know the band’s story. How did you meet, and how did you combine musical tastes to develop your sound?
Ben Cook: Our story starts with an idea. Steven wanted a band where all his friends could sing, write, and play their music together. If you have an idea for a song, let’s hear it. The original lineup mostly met in college, but as the years progressed, we added members that were more suited and willing to travel and be a touring band, as opposed to a band that stayed. We’ve always had goals that exceed the boarders of Mobile or even Alabama.
As far as all our music tastes being combined to make the sound we have, I think that can be largely attributed to being in the South. It’s kind of just what comes out. We all have different tastes and different musical backgrounds. From musical theatre to punk rock, everyone’s flavor makes up the delicious entree that is The Underhill Family Orchestra.
BMA: Art On The Rocks is about blending the best of Birmingham culture (music, performances, food, and more) with the beautiful Museum environment. In the spirit of fusing music and art, tell us which visual artists might best represent The Underhill Family Orchestra?
BC: James Bama, Phillipe Halsman, Kerby Rosanes.
BMA: Birmingham has an incredible food culture. If your music were perfectly paired with a delicious meal and cocktail, what would be on the menu?
BC: Cocktail? Probably whiskey. Neat. As far as the meal goes, I’d have to say pizza. You can never go wrong with pizza.
BMA: What can we expect from your show at Art On The Rocks?