The soulful, fun, and seemingly effortless performance by The Understorey’s Jess McCumons will always pull you in for more.
Having a desire to create a musical tapestry and landscape, Matt and Jess McCumons started as a duo and then joined with dedicated and talented Michigan musicians Dave Wak (Drums), Billy King (Electric Guitar), Josef Deas (Keys, Bass), and Jenny Jones (BGVs). Since the band released its debut album, ‘Tending Embers’ in June 2013, they have performed at The Ark, The Ann Arbor Summer Festival (A2SF), the Ann Arbor Art Fair, Hollerfest, Water Hill Music Festival, Tip of the Mitt Paddlefest, the St. Joseph Art and Wine Festival, Black Crystal Café, Johnny’s Speakeasy, Wolverine State Brewing, Chelsea Alehouse, and Woodruffs (now defunct).
MATT & JESS MCCUMONS
Taking hints, inspiration, and style from Aretha Franklin, Alison Krauss, Brandi Carlile, and Janis Joplin (just to name a few); Jess McCumons has impressed all those who listen. Leaning on well-rounded and talented husband, Matt McCumons, the duo continues to push out of musical categories and boundaries by incorporating folk, rock, gospel, blues, and jazz into their original tracks. Making waves in their home state of Michigan, Matt and Jess started out singing together on their wedding day.
"The band is at its best a precise tight R&B unit that allows Jess and Jenny to shine.....but it's a well oiled machine that drives the vocals to the forefront - with special force in the band's powerful encore performance of its song 'Fat Birdie.'"
- Chris Berggren, Ann Arbor Observer, February 2014
"Folk-country duo The Understorey comprises husband and wife Matt and Jess McCumons. With Jess on vocals and Matt on guitar, the Michiganders craft a mainstream-style lo-fi sound in the vein of Amos Lee or Brandi Carlile. Jess, a classically trained vocalist, contributes a surprisingly powerful soulful voice, while Matt provides sparse, simple and propulsive accompaniment. Among their influences, the two list as many folk rockers (Emmylou Harris, Tom Petty) as R&B belters (Aretha Franklin, Etta James). Although The Understorey has not yet released any recordings, several tracks are available for download via the group's website, and the two have toured throughout Michigan."
- The Onion, September 15, 2011