Music

Everyone's Invited to the Underhill Family Orchestra with "When the Trumpet Sounds" (premiere)

Photo courtesy of Lucky Bird Media

Familial folk-rock collective the Underhill Family Orchestra is at it again with a grooving new single—complete with an album announcement.

The Underhill Family Orchestra are a collective of Alabama Delta artists who have been taking their music scene by storm with their uninhibited and celebratory blend of Southern influences. The folk-rocking quintet is intent on resurrecting American roots music with a contemporary soulful rock flair that will undoubtedly get audience members out of their chairs and grooving along. The group's musicians may not be blood relatives, but they really come across as a tight-knit group with their music—and one that is willing to bring all of their listeners into the familial fold while they're at it. Fans of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats definitely need apply.

It takes mere moments to get caught in the sway of their latest single, "When the Trumpet Sounds". It's from off of their forthcoming album, Tell Me That You Love Me, that's set to be released on 4 May via Skate Mountain. Prior to its release, fans of the band can give "When the Trumpet Sounds" a listen below, as well as get caught up with the band via a PopMatters Q&A with vocalist Steven Laney.

What is "When the Trumpet Sounds" about?

The song is about the longing you feel to return to someone you love and their patient attempt to be supportive, especially applying to what we do: playing out on the road for much of many months. Besides approaching the concept of lonely patience, it also deals with the metaphysical concept of meeting one's love's maker, whatever or whoever that may be, and having the souls of your loved one intertwine with yours in the extraphysical meeting place in some afterlife. It's a sentiment that we are always searching for completion and that our loved ones are instrumental in that sense of fulfillment.

Who or what were some influences when writing "When the Trumpet Sounds"?

I think songs that inspire movement or journeys helped us come up with a lot of the "feel" of the tune. Some more obvious, maybe even linear, influences are "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum and "Moving Right Along" by....Jim Henson? Kermit and Fozzie Bear? Some more subverted ideas were inspired by the hymn "Love Constraining To Obedience" by John Newton and William Cowper and "Pure Blue Patience" by Young Valley from Jackson, Mississippi. Some textual references came from the books of Revelations and Isaiah from the Bible and from Thomas Merton's "Seven Storey Mountain", which was the namesake of the tour we were on when the song was written.

Any cool, funny, or interesting stories from writing and recording this one?

Absolutely! since there are two versions of this particular tune, the second of which appears on the album, we ended up recording five or so different endings. For a while, it was kind of like Clue with Tim Curry or a "choose your own adventure" book. We went back and forth on a few different endings and ended up changing a good deal of the "second act" for the sake of making it a good radio track. The album version is considerably different and is a really different take on the same song starting at around the two-minute mark. We like to say that we make music you can "dance or cry to", so, we are super excited about people getting the chance to pick and choose based on how they're feeling. It makes it fun for us and (hopefully) for the listener.

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