The Roys

Lonesome Whistle

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The harmonies the Roys use to give their music its deep country soul are steeped in traditional bluegrass. Surprisingly, they grew up in Canada listening to Arcadian music as well as bluegrass and country. Lee Roy has been playing mandolin semi-professionally since he was nine and his sister Elaine turned pro when she was ten. They became stars on the highly competitive New England circuit before moving to Nashville and starting their own indie label in 2005. This time out their sound is more acoustic, a blend of traditional bluegrass, old-time country, and Americana that will appeal to fans of all three genres. They've also stepped up their songwriting skills and several tunes here sound like instant classics, including the leadoff track, "Coal Minin' Man," a tribute to the hard life of miners that's as good as the Merle Travis classic "Dark as a Dungeon." Elaine sings lead on the poignant "That's What Makes It Love," a tune Lee wrote in the style of his hero Ricky Skaggs, who adds his own compelling vocals to the tune. Other compelling tracks include "Right Back at You," a brokenhearted lament with a wrenching vocal from Elaine and the somber Dobro work of Randy Kohrs; "Give a Ride to the Devil," a morality tale sung by Lee with hint of dark humor in his voice; and the title track, a train song that acknowledges the sacrifices ordinary Americans make in times of war. Andy Leftwich provides the lonesome whistling of the title with his superb fiddling.

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