Monday, June 10, 2013

Prescription Bluegrass Reviews THE ROYS–Gyspy Runaway Train

Image635058563118101617At a time when it seems that many groups are straying from the traditional bluegrass sound, “Gypsy Runaway Train”, is pulling into the station right on time.

This collection of six original songs and seven familiar favorites is the third CD released by the brother and sister duo, The Roys, and is nothing but straightforward bluegrass. There are no frills on this project, just solid bluegrass music.

I have enjoyed listening to The Roys since they first entered the bluegrass realm with their freshman release “New Day Dawning”. I was attracted to the ability of Elaine and Lee to compose songs that were both honest and since. Whether the songs centered on a family member, a moment in time, or their faith, it seems as if the lyrics spoke directly to me.


For “Gypsy Runaway Train” that moment comes full circle with “Another Minute”. This reflective song, which Lee penned about his Grandfather, is by far my top pick on this project. The lyrics speak volumes about the influence others have in shaping our character, how precious those everyday moments are, and how we can be an influence to others. Listeners, especially those of us that have experienced the death of a loved one, will find themselves lost in the lyrics and wanting just another minute. Image635058573524716842The fast-paced title track, also written by Lee, is a top pick contender for this project. The song “Gypsy Runaway Train” is an entertaining look at why The Roys have chosen music as their career. After hearing this number, you may feel as if you received a glimpse into a day in the life of Elaine and Lee.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the honest and straightforward ballad, “Half Of Me, written and delivered by Elaine. Her sincere performance touches on carrying on following a storm in life and relying on ones’ faith to make it through. While the song definitely has a bluegrass feel, it could easily carry over to mainstream gospel.

Scattered throughout the project are several enjoyable cover tunes, which Elaine and Lee have kept close to the original version but to which they’ve added their own arrangements in order to fit their voices and playing style. I enjoyed Elaine’s performance on the Bill Monroe classic “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and the up-tempo version of “Those Memories of You” written by Allan O’Bryant. 

Lee does not disappoint listeners when he renders his version of Flatt & Scruggs longtime favorite “What Gives You The Right” and the country classic “Ramblin’ Fever” by Merle Haggard. The pair covers other tunes but, for me, the hands-down standout is the Flatt & Scruggs gospel song “He Took Your Place”.

All of the musicians involved in the project are impeccable, including Elaine on guitar and Lee on mandolin. While the musicians varied throughout the tracks, lending their talents were: Mark Fain and Royal Masat / bass, Cody Kilby / guitar, Justin Moses and Matthew Downing / banjo, Randy Kohrs / dobro, Jeff Taylor / accordion and Andy Leftwich who, in addition to playing the fiddle and mandolin, also produced the project along with The Roys. I should note that since completion of this project, The Roys have added banjo player Daniel Patrick to their band and he has already begun touring with them.

My biggest complaint, and not really a complaint but a preference, is that while the cover songs were pleasing; more of The Roys’ original material was not included in the project. I do feel that their biggest strength is in songwriting and I was a little disappointed at this decision. However, my issue should not take away from the fact that all the songs on the project are done well.

With that said, “Gypsy Runaway Train” is sure to appeal to a wide range of listeners especially those that enjoy tight sibling harmony, heartfelt lyrics, rock-solid musicianship, and the sound of traditional bluegrass.

No comments:

Post a Comment

ALL comments are moderated and must be approved by the administrator of this blog. SPAM Comments, HATE Comments and general dis-respect will be ignored and deleted. Opposite opinion comments will be posted if presented in a polite and professional approach.

Subscribe Now: RSS Reader