THE ROYS, “Lonesome Whistle,” Rural Rhythm. 11 tracks.
Not many Canadian bluegrass bands have made it in the United States, but The Roys have a good shot at stardom.
Lee and Elaine Roy were actually born in Massachusetts, but the family later moved to New Brunswick, Canada.
The brother-sister act has been performing since each was 10, and they’ve honed a great harmony sound in the years since.
The two share lead singing duties on the album, but Elaine Roy’s voice packs the most emotional punch.
The Roys wrote or co-wrote all but one of the songs on their national debut album. And they brought in Ricky Skaggs & members of his Kentucky Thunder for help in the studio.
Skaggs and The Whites provide harmony support on “That’s What Makes It Love,” a song about a single mother working two jobs, an old man caring for his wife of 60 years and Jesus.
“Coal Minin’ Man,” the first single off the album, tells the story of a third-generation miner, who’s “hurtin’, but he don’t complain.”
“Right Back At You” finds a woman deciding that it’s time to get back to living, a year after he broke her heart.
“Nothin’ I Can Do About That Now” and “Lonesome Whistle” are both train songs. The former finds the train taking a lover away and the latter finds a different train bringing a dead lover home from war.
“Give A Ride To The Devil” warns that if you “give a ride to the devil, someday he’s gonna wanna drive.”
“I Wonder What God’s Thinking” finds people on the street passing a hungry 15-year-old girl without helping and the singer wondering “what God’s thinking when He looks down on us.”
It’s a strong debut by a good duo.