Bluegrass and country music compete for attention in the sound of brother-sister duo The Roys on their latest album, with the former winning out over the latter more often than not. Elaine Roy comes across quite Dolly Parton-like at times, and the harmonies between her and brother Lee are everything one expects from sibling singing.
The album contains a half dozen Roys originals and a batch of classics done the Roys’ way, such as a barnstorming take on “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, a bluegrass standard that hasn’t sounded this energized and essential in many, many versions.
Their country tendencies surface on the slower numbers, including a lovingly rendered “I Wonder Where You Are Tonight,” featuring some truly sorrowful fiddle and mandolin work framing Elaine’s classic, vulnerable vocal.
No good bluegrass act can release an album without at least one gospel song, and the vintage Flatt & Scruggs tune “He Took Your Place” fills that role here nicely. Add in a few more upbeat bluegrass songs like the album’s autobiographical on-the-road title track and a propulsive take on the folk song “Born With a Hammer In My Hand” and you have a thoroughly enjoyable, well rounded effort that takes in both country and bluegrass influences and filters them through a love and respect for both.
Here’s a clip of The Roys performing “Gypsy Runaway Train” on a Nashville TV show: