Firmly planted in the sounds of traditional country music, Nashville duo, Autumn Rose, began cultivating their powerful sound on the campus of Belmont University. Best friends before ever sharing the stage, Alicia Beale and Rachael Schleicher quickly realized the strength of their combined musical roots and so have country audiences. They just released their self titled EP, produced by one of country music’s most respected producers, Garth Fundis (Trisha Yearwood, Don Williams, Alabama, Keith Whitley, Sugarland).
Born in the same hospital as Port Arthur native, Janis Joplin, Alicia was raised by four generations of women in the nearby, small town of Batson, Texas. Her exposure to music was an eclectic mix, ranging from the early 1900’s to then present-day. “For as long as I can remember music has played an important role in my family life.” she says. Her childhood was filled with the Cajun sounds of Zydeco in her grandmother, Maw Maw’s kitchen, straight through to Alicia’s own after-supper performances of her mom’s favorite Lorrie Morgan and Tammy Wynette songs.
“I felt comfort and found strength in the music of my childhood. It carried me through some tough moments.” One of the toughest was the battle and untimely loss of her mother to cancer when Alicia was just fourteen. “My Dad always told me that what happened in my life would only make me stronger,” she says with a smile. “Without that strength I may have never found the courage to move to Nashville.” This is where Alicia met her best friend and singing partner Rachael while both attended Belmont University.
“We had so much in common, it’s no wonder we became so close,” says Rachael, who was raised in a music loving family from Detroit, Michigan. Her mother sang and taught piano while her father loved to play guitar after getting home from a long day at work. “My Mom loved old Gershwin Broadway tunes and Dad was a bluegrass and classic rock guy.” In fact, her very first album, Alison Krauss & Union Station’s Every Time You Say Goodbye, was a gift from her father.
Not only did Alicia and Rachael share a mutual love for music, but they also discovered an unlikely bond in cancer. “My mother is a cancer survivor”, says Rachael, “and in my early teens I was forced to deal with a lot of very real and difficult emotions as our whole family struggled to battle the disease.” Today, her mother is her biggest fan. “She is my rock and has always believed in me” says Rachael.
Although both of these young women have experienced some dramatic transitions early in their lives, those events, they say, have only deepened the creative well from which they draw their performances. A promising new duo, Autumn Rose, has faith that a winning attitude and message of strength and resilience will inspire others the same way they’ve been inspired by the music and the people who have come before them.