Appalachian Monk is Troy Underwood. In what ever form or fashion or configuration you put it in.
And Troy Underwood is a soul man. As simple and ultimately misleading as that may be, it’s about as close as anyone will ever come to describing him. With a voice that would be the envy of any in Nashville, and a groove as bone-deep as any blue-eyed soulsters’, Underwood can paint on as broad an aural landscape as he wishes. Whether it’s channeling Tony Joe White on his sizzling “Summertime In Georgia,” romancing the ether with “Dance In The Kitchen,” or bringing down the house with “Big Bottom Girls,” Underwood defies categorization.
Underwood hails from Ringgold, Georgia, where he learned to play the drums at four, and keyboards and guitar before reaching his teens. Possessed of a preternaturally old and soulful voice and the writing chops to compliment it, he seemed tailor made for the life of a troubadour. It was obvious to anyone who knew him that music was his calling. The only one who didn’t seem to know it was Underwood himself, and it would be some time before the call of his muse became too loud for even him to ignore.
Like many fledgling singer/songwriters, Underwood’s first experience came at local open mics where it quickly became obvious that he was no ordinary talent. His songs were immediately accessible, his playing sublime, and his voice… world weary yet hopeful, a gravelly drawl that carries weight, the voice of an old, old soul. As many of those who had to follow him at those first open mic performances would surely attest, it simply wasn’t fair.
Soon Underwood was pitching songs, first as a hobby but then with an increasing sense of determination. He moved to Nashville where he was soon teamed up with such writers as Wynn Varble, Shawn Harnett, Bobby Pinson, Mark Gray, and John Sturdivant Jr. He seemed well on the way to having a successful songwriting career before family issues intervened, and he was forced to return home to his native Ringgold.
Once home, Underwood began performing locally. A move to Chattanooga brought more opportunities, and soon he was gaining a following. He released the self-produced albums “Daydream” and “Drive,” and soon women as far afield as Atlanta were singing along when he’d perform. Hailed by critics – one of whom called him the long, lost love child of Stevie Wonder and Garth Brooks – Underwood has earned a loyal coterie of fans everywhere he plays. It’s not hard to understand why: This is what he was born to do.
Cherokee Scout NC