Friday, September 26, 2014

CD Review - The Roys - THE VIEW

Image635473061284243040Lee and Elaine Roy are a brother-sister duo that largely features their considerable vocal and songwriting talents. Both have beautiful voices that enmesh nicely with each other. Elaine plays guitar and Lee plays mandolin and they are well-supported on this effort by Daniel Patrick on banjo and reso guitar, Clint White on fiddle and Erik Alvar on bass.

The View offers up eleven original cuts, including one instrumental, with the title cut sharing writing credit with longtime Country Music luminary, Bill Anderson. Their overall presentation on The View is well within the boundaries of what most would consider ‘Bluegrass,’ though they probably wouldn’t be characterized as “traditional” Bluegrass by most enthusiasts.

Elaine’s voice is ever-so-slightly salty, but gilded: smooth and clear with character and presence. She’s easy to listen to and well establishes her ability with fine lead-vocal work on the opening cut, No More Lonely, as well as on No More Tears (one of my favorites), Sometimes (a tribute to adults dealing with dementia-afflicted loved ones), Mended Wings and The View.

The five remaining vocal cuts feature Lee Roy on lead vocals. His voice sounds like a male version of Elaine’s voice, and vice versa. I also occasionally noticed some similarity in Lee’s tone to that of Ricky Skaggs, such as on Live the Life You Love, which also happens to be one of my personal favorites. Lee also shares lead vocals with Doyle Lawson on Mandolin Man, which is a tribute to Bill Monroe.

Instrumentally, good taste prevails, yet each lead-instrument is able to retain an element of artistic identity and sparkle. Each of the lead-musicians is able to establish a bit of their personality within their solos and, often, during their ‘fills’ behind the vocalists. As much as over-playing is passe in today’s professional Bluegrass climate, there are no violations on this CD. However, the upbeat, No More Tears, offers the listener an opportunity to hear Daniel Patrick stretch-out on fiddle and all three lead players show their chops on the mandolin-led instrumental, Northern Skies.

I found The Roy’s use of multiple fiddles on Heaven Needed Her More is especially enjoyable—reminiscent of Bill Monroe’s use of twin and triple fiddles on some of his recordings during the 1960’s and 1970’s. It’s a sound that, in the opinion of this humble reviewer, is used far too infrequently in the stylings of the modern Bluegrass community.

The overall production is nothing less than stellar, with a very balanced sound and superb mixing and editing, though I might have insisted on slightly more bass and rhythm guitar presence on some of the pieces, but it sounds great. There’s little of the tonal overhang present in lesser-quality recordings by other artists and one feels as though they are listening from a small, quiet, acoustic studio. Throughout The View, Lee and Elaine’s vocals blend beautifully and along with their keen ability to choose and write well-suited material and to design and musically articulate tasteful, thoughtful arrangements, The View is a musical treasure not to be missed. MR

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