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Musical kinship: Alabama’s Underhill Family Orchestra celebrates its Southern influences

Spending 15 minutes with the members of The Underhill Family Orchestra is really like being part of the family.

The Underhill Family Orchestra released its latest album, “Tell Me That You Love Me,” last year. (Courtesy of Lucky Bird Media)

Each member is welcoming, because it’s the love of music that brings people together.

And the quintet is on the road in support of its 2018 album, “Tell Me That You Love Me.”

“We’ve had some really lovely drives,” Joelle Rosen says during a stop in San Diego. “It’s been really rad, and our tour has been amazing.”

The Underhill Family Orchestra is a collective of artists from the Alabama Delta that celebrates its Southern influences through music.

The group worked on its latest album for about two years.

Vocalist Steven Laney says a good amount of time was spent writing individually before bringing the ideas to the band.

“On this last record, I wrote some songs,” Laney says. “Ben (Cook) wrote some. It’s very collaborative once we get into the studio. One person at a time hands it off to the other. So that we don’t repeat themes on the record, we’re aware of how we edit the music and give it a different context.”

Cook says the band doesn’t run into many conflicts while writing and recording.

“We work on structural maneuvers and see how we can transition the song,” Cook says. “It’s an interesting way for us to work to get it right.”

Rounding out the band with Laney, Cook and Rosen are Brian Wattier and Jeremy Padot.

Laney says the band is performing about five songs from the most recent album.

“We have some songs that we’re still sitting on,” Laney says. “We have three songs that are brand-new and have made a pact to play them in our live shows. This is the way we make or break a song. We try it out on the road.”

“This is where we work out the kinks,” Cook chimes in. “A live setting is the best place to get a reaction. It’s so different from the rehearsal space.”

Keeping the music interesting is what keeps the band going, Laney says.

“Our label and our team is great,” Laney says. “They are not only patient but interested in doing as many experimental things with us within music. We’re going to get a lot more interesting music as we get to discover more of ourselves. I do think the way the music industry is changing is good for the creative process.”