Umbrella Tree is a trio  (recently quartet) from Nashville, TN. The group formed in the summer of 2005 with members Derek Pearson on drums, Jillian Leigh singing and on keys, and Zachary Gresham singing and on guitar; newly inducted member Ryan LaFave slaps da bass. Umbrella Tree has released three full-length albums, along with a digital download of acoustic renditions. Their music has been described as progressive rock, gothic musical theatre and bohemian bookworm pop. Scattered, smothered, covered, peppered and capped.

On August 23rd 2005, Umbrella Tree played its maiden live show at The Basement (below Grimey’s New & Pre-Loved Music) in Nashville. The wily trio’s twenty-minute set at the beloved New Faces Night has since become the stuff of legend.

Umbrella Tree’s debut-album, What Kind of Books Do You Read?, was released in Spring of 2006 with an in-store performance at Grimey’s. Zachary recorded the project in his East Nashville attic home on half-inch 8-track tape (Tascam TSR-8). He had two microphones. The album was mixed by Loney Hutchins and mastered by Al Willis. What Kind of Books Do You Read? was well-received in Nashville, hitting the top of the best sellers list at Grimey's several times in 2006. The lyrical content, written by Zachary and Jillian, revolves around themes of animals, ghosts, westerns and fisticuffs.

churchUmbrella Tree's second album, The Church and The Hospital, is a conceptual “double-EP” about, one the one hand, a Protestant feeling-out notions of Apostolic Succession, and on the other a child dealing with sickness, medicine and death. It’s a lot more upbeat than it sounds like it would be.The Church and The Hospital was released in February of 2008 with another Grimey's in-store and a long awaited release show at Mercy Lounge. Donning all white to promote the album's conceptual themes, Umbrella Tree cranked-up the theatrics by including a sign-language interpreter, a puppet-show and a tea party with tea-sipping grandmothers. The Church and The Hospital was recorded and mixed by Jeremy Ferguson at Battle Tapes Recording in East Nashville and mastered by Jim DeMain at Yes Master Studios. A phantasmagoria of string and brass instruments attest to the ambitious mood of the day.


Later in 2008, after two successful unplugged shows at East Nashville's Family Wash, the group recorded a set of acoustic tracks at the Prizefighter Compound. This live-ish, made-in-a-day album includes remakes of songs from the first two records. Recorded and mixed by Justin Herlocker and mastered by Steve Mabee, Acoustic at the Prizefighter Compound remains available free for download on Noisetrade. No hard copy has ever been made available.

The Letter C

In July of 2009, Umbrella Tree released The Letter C and hosted a music video showcase at Mercy Lounge which included the premiere of the epic 16 video DVD that accompanies physical copies of The Letter C CD. The album was recorded by Zachary, whose studio, Scoliosis, had been upgraded significantly since 2005; the album was mixed by Jeremy Ferguson and mastered by Jim DeMain. Derek conceived, shot and edited an original music video for each of the album’s 16 songs. The DVD also contains a full live show. The Letter C CD/DVD package is one of the most media-packed releases to come from an independent Nashville band in history. It is a spectacular achievement.


Umbrella Tree is now ready to begin their seventh year together with their first vinyl release, To the Memory of a Once Great Man. The album, recorded and mixed by Zachary with the band’s first electronic drum programming by Derek, is about the life and death of Napoleon Bonaparte. As of this update (28 January 2012) over $2,000 in vinyl pre-sales have been ordered. The album is set for release on April 17th 2012.