|The Roys – photo by Anthony Ladd|
Blending harmonies with family ties describes the hot country-bluegrass duo, The Roys. The duo composed of siblings Lee Roy and Elaine Roy, they have gained attention to those in both bluegrass and country music. Their latest release, “Lonesome Whistle,” is sure to be a delight to the listener’s ears.
In putting the album together, Lee Roy recalls getting together with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. “We’re buddies with Andy Leftwich, who plays for Ricky Skaggs. When we were getting ready to make this record, we approached him about putting a band together. He actually asked what we thought about using Kentucky Thunder. I’ve used a few of the guys in the past on session work so we ended up asking them and they wanted to do it. We had Randy Kohrs come in and do the dobro work. We give credit to Andy for putting that all together.”
Walking into Skagg’s studios, Elaine Roy remembers being nervous that first time. “It was a little intimidating seeing all the awards and to know that the master of bluegrass has that place. Even the musicians are top of the line. At first, I was a little nervous, but after 5 or 10 minutes with the guys meeting and starting to play with them, it took wings of its own. It was a great experience and a lot of fun.”
The Roys music has a traditional feeling throughout past and future recordings. For Lee, “growing up our music has been very traditional. For me personally, my first true love in music is bluegrass. I love the art of it. It’s music that cannot be faked. I just love the whole history of it and the truthfulness of the music. For me, it was always something I’ve always wanted to do bluegrass music. The timing couldn’t be more right with folks like Dierks Bentley coming out with a bluegrass record.”
The album itself provides an excellent blend of tunes to provide an enjoyable listening experience for the listener. The beginning track, “Coal Mining Man,” takes a trip back to the hills of Appalachia. Recently the Roys filmed the video for “Coal Miners Man” in the heart of coal country of Harlan County, Kentucky. “That was a really great experience,” according to Elaine. “When we got the okay to go to Hazard at a real coal mine, we were all excited. It was an incredible experience learning how things worked. It was a real eye opening experience. We take things for granted whenever we turn on the lights, turn on the radio, etc. Those are some hard working folks. I think at times coal mining gets a bad rap and we hope our song puts out a new respectful anthem to those really hard working people.” The video, which was directed by Marcel, will be officially released very soon in conjunction to the album release.
Elaine Roy excels vocally and her songwriting abilities on several album cuts. With “That’s What Makes It Love,” no matter how hard times may get, love will always be there. “Right Back at You” is a touching tale about getting over heartache. The style is similar to one of Elaine’s music idols, Dolly Parton. Elaine also paid tribute to Dolly with the tune “Trailblazer.” According to Elaine, “I really thought of how Dolly has been a real trailblazer in not only country music, but other genres. I thought this would be a great way for any woman to chase their dreams and make a name for them.”
Your feet will get to stomping and hands clapping with “Nothin’ I Can Do About It Now.” The tune was co-written by Lee Roy, Arlis Albritton, and Josh Thompson. Lee indicated that they have written tunes before and this song came about during one of those sessions. The song takes shape just as a train rolls away, just like a woman leaving a man and he can’t stop her.
Giving in to temptation, “Give a Ride to the Devil” talks about a young man making wrong decisions before realizing what he should be doing right.
There is nothing more lonesome than a goodbye. On the title track, “Lonesome Whistle,” you can feel the sorrow of being alone while the loved one is off to war, only to return with a flag draped over his casket. Rather than making it a slow tune, The Roys play this with a driving sound like a train rolling around the bend.
Looking through old photographs, a young woman sees her mother in a wedding dress. In “Everything I Ever Wanted,” the woman wonders if the woman in the photo realizes how much of an impact she’s made on her daughter’s life. It is a very touching tune that mothers and daughters could relate to.
“My Oh My How Time Flies” is another toe tapping tune on how time flies when you are with the one you love. With “I Wonder What God’s Thinking,” things are slowed down about a young homeless woman that really puts life in a new perspective.
The final track on the album, “High Road,” makes the listener realize that even though the high road may not be as much desirable at first, sometimes it is the only way to go. Sometimes it takes courage to do what is right.
The Roys have definitely excelled at their songwriting craft through their album, “Lonesome Whistle.” The album is available in stores on March 22nd. Be sure to check them out online at www.theroysonline.com as well as Facebook and Twitter.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.