Up From Under

Rising rock band, Edmond’s Up From Under, has undergone something of a metamorphosis in the last couple of years. What started as two guys, a couple of acoustic guitars and a rotating lineup of backup musicians about five years ago has become a full-fledged band with a refined sound, electric guitars and a new EP on the way.

“Some Miracle,” the second release under the Up From Under name, is the first from the full squad, which consists of founders Luke Rountree (vocals/guitar) and Will Stucky (vocals/guitar/keyboard), and newcomers Ryan McGuire (drums), John Freise (bass) and Jeremy Davidson (guitar). “This new EP kind of establishes a change of direction from what we used to be. It’s a new page in the band’s history. It’s something that we’re better as and more comfortable in, as a band,” Rountree, a UCO graduate, says.

He says the old stuff was very raw, folk-driven and much more acoustic. It was also the product of a band looking for a signature sound. “The new style has a lot of little intricacies within the songs, and a lot of good melodies that will stick in your head,” McGuire says.

“The new sound, to me, is more like melodic rock, where the instruments are feeding off one another, where the guitars don’t just play five-bar chords. We work really hard to arrange melodies so that each instrument has an interesting part,” Rountree says.

Freise, one of the leftovers from their original posse of support musicians, has a background in jazz. “John is a very, very tasteful and solid bassist,” McGuire says. “He knows what to play, what sounds good and where, and he knows when to just go off on those bass licks.”

Rountree says the decision to press Up From Under into its new stage arrived when it became clear that a choice had to be made. “Once Will and I graduated from college and got that off our plate, we asked ourselves, ‘Is this something we’re serious about, or is it a hobby we’re going to keep until we’re 40?’”, he says. “We knew we had to form the band to take the next step.”

They looked for people who would invest in the band creatively and emotionally. “It takes a great deal of commitment to make a band a career and not just a hobby,” Rountree says. “It definitely made what we’re creating a lot better. There’s more input, more creativity, more influences and more background.”

Their first EP, “Love and Do,” came out in 2004. “When I listen to it now, it’s like going back and reading an old high school diary. It reminds me of myself at a young age,” Stucky says.

The new EP keeps much of their alternative folk rock sound from the early years. Rountree and Stucky are big fans of bands like The Wallflowers, Bob Dylan and Derek Webb, and McGuire cites The Beastie Boys as an influence on his drumming. “I would probably describe the music as a mixture of Neil Young meets old school Springsteen,” Davidson says. Rountree likens their sound to bands like Wilco and Oasis.

Rountree and Stucky write the lyrics, and they mainly look at what’s going on in the world for inspiration. Some songs have mild political themes or religious overtones, but Rountree says they’re careful to let the listeners decide for themselves what the songs are about.

“I think we’re really just getting started,” Davidson says. “I think the future, for us, is to just go out and play a lot more shows and meet a lot more people and just ride it and see where it goes, and work really hard at it.”

A full-length album is in the works with a projected 2010 release date, and an animated music video is expected to hit the band’s web site soon.

Up From Under will play at Tulsa’s Riverwalk on July 10, and they plan an EP release show to support “Some Miracle” in Oklahoma City in August. Details will be posted at www.upfromunder.com and www.myspace.com/upfromunder as they become available. 

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